Man with racing heart possibly saved when ambulance hits pothole on drive to hospital

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GRETNA, Va. — Monday afternoon, Gretna Rescue rushed to help a 59-year-old man with a racing heart at work. He had no history of heart problems.

The squad has a 20-minute drive ahead to the emergency room and the patient’s heart rate got as high as 200 beats per minute.

During the 7-mile ride from 144th and I-80 to Lakeside Hospital, however, something happened that isn’t covered in the treatment plan — potholes.

The driver apparently hit a monster-sized one because medics told the hospital — as relayed by “omaha scanner” on twitter — the jolt of the pothole “converted the patient’s” racing heart to “normal” rhythms.

Nebraska Medicine’s Andrew Goldsweig, an interventional cardiologist, said, “It’s rare, but it’s a well-described phenomenon.”

Goldsweig explained that one way to treat a racing heart is with an electrical shock.

“Classicly, you’ll see it on television,” he said. “The paddles — ‘clear’ — and a big jolt. Turns out you can do that with a pothole.”

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