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Man reunites with emergency crews after heart stops for more than 100 minutes

By Laura Halm
Published On: Jan 14 2013 04:13:28 PM CST
LIFE SAVING REUNION
HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. -

Emergency crews are trained to save lives, and that's exactly what one local crew did when they found a man suffering from hypothermia. He was found with no pulse in a ravine.

While there are still a lot of unanswered questions about what happened, one thing is clear is that the man's recovery was nothing short of a miracle. On Saturday he was reunited with the men and women who worked to get his heart beating again.

It was a heart-warming welcome for David Hillard, a man that's truly one in a million. "I owe everything to them, I owe my life to them," said Hillard.

This is the first time paramedics, nurses, and emergency crews in Hawkins County have seen Hillard since January 1, 2013, when they worked tirelessly to save his life.

It's been nearly 10 days since he was found in a ravine with water surrounding him, laying there for almost 15 hours. "[It was] 41 degrees outside that day. Laying in the water he did have a blanket over him, but he was just wet, and extremely hypothermic," said Wayne Elam with Hawkins County EMS.

Emergency crews don't know how Hillard ended up in the ravine, but when a 911 call came in they acted quickly. From the time emergency crews picked him up and got him to the hospital, Hillard had no pulse and it took about 108 minutes to get his heart beating again. "We worked with a guy that had a temperature of 79.4 degrees, someone that we thought didn't have a very good chance of living," said nurse Meredith Broome.

But the impossible was made possible and Hillard soon woke up in the intensive care unit, but says he has no memory of what happened. "I didn't know where I was, I didn't know why I was there, I didn't know why I hurt. I didn't know anything," he said.

A reunion like this is overwhelming for those that simply say they were doing their job. "Actually putting a face with what we had worked with that day was pretty amazing," added Broome.

Hillard says he's thanking God he can hug those that helped save his life. "I'm a miracle to be here and it's all because of these people right here," he said, motioning to the rescue crew.

Emergency crews also say Hillard's dog Roxy never left his side; in fact, Roxy was still with him 15 hours later during the rescue.