Woman ‘clinically dead’ for 26 minutes defies science

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (KPHO) — As an emergency room doctor of 25 years, Kurt Solem has treated it all. Yet his most recent patient, Debbie Biggles, is defying everything he learned in that quarter century.

“I can only describe it, with her being neurologically intact, a miracle, that’s it,” Solem said.

He calls it a miracle because this past weekend Biggles was clinically dead for 26 minutes.

“In fact, I wrote down [in her chart] the prognosis is grim and neurological damage was highly likely.”

It happened Saturday during Biggles’ shift at Kosmo’s Doghouse, a pet grooming business in Scottsdale.

“I remember preshaving a Golden-Doodle and I put it in the tub,” Biggles explained.

Other workers saw her drop unconscious to the floor. Biggles suffered a heart attack. 

“I saw her laying on the floor in the back corner,” Chelsea Loucks, Biggles’ co-worker, said. “She was like blue-purpleish.”

Biggles had no pulse and her breathing was shallow. Loucks started chest compressions on Biggles, hoping she remembered the technique.

“Are you going down hard enough? Is it working? Are you doing it right” were just some of the questions racing through Loucks’ mind while she was doing CPR.

And she was singing the 1970’s Bee Gees hit Stayin’ Alive which she learned to help deliver the right amount of compressions. 

Loucks performed CPR compressions for nearly 15 minutes.

“Ha, ha, ha, ha … staying alive, staying alive,” Loucks said as she simultaneously demonstrated chest compressions.

It’s such a fitting song when you think about what happened to Biggles.

“She’s my angel. She saved me,” Biggles said.

It’s a miracle that played out before Biggles’ and Loucks’ boss’ eyes. It’s an experience Kat Lange-Richards plans to pass on to the rest of her staff.

“I’m gonna go and get CPR certified and I’m gonna pay for it [for my staff],” Lange-Richards said. “We’ve recognized the value of knowing and having everyone know CPR because you never know when it can happen.”