Brother Kevin Leahy

Sudden cardiac arrest resulting from amyloidosis

I am a Catholic seminarian studying to be a Roman Catholic Priest. At the moment of the cardiac arrest, I was studying in Rome where one of our seminaries is located.

On June 1 2008 on a hot summer afternoon I was jogging towards our soccer field to play. I was jogging with a fellow seminarian, who told me after the incident that I had fallen far behind him while running. He didn’t think much of it and kept on jogging towards the field.

After having run about two miles I collapsed (I do not remember any of this). Having fallen next to a busy street, a man saw me from his apartment window and called for help. I laid next to the busy street of Via Aurelia in Rome.

At the same time as this happened there were a group of disabled pilgrims from the Order of Malta from Germany, just arriving in Rome with about 1000 people in 27 buses from all German dioceses. A few hundred metres before arriving at their hotel, Ergife, their bus leader saw a man (me) lying on the ground in one of the small streets they passed by. The bus stopped at once, they ran to me laying on the ground, with my front side down to the floor and around me a few worried people. I took only a few breaths more – and then I stopped breathing, according to the priest that was in that bus.

“He is dying!” said the German doctor, Dr. Christian Hönemann, along with the German paramedic Markus Bardelman and a German nurse, Britta. Immediately the medical staff began to bring me back to life. Christian (the German doctor) did artificial respiration, then the tracheal respiration with a tracheal-tube. Markus (the German paramedic) did the cardiac massage, because there was no more heartbeat. At this moment I was clinically dead. They gave me different intravenous drips. “We don’t get him back” were the exact words of those assisting me, said the German priest at the site.

The German priest told me that they saw me dying. At that moment the priest cried out to our Lord: my heart cried to the Lord: “Don’t let him die! Whoever this guy is: He is yours – save his life! Let us all see your magnitude and your man kindness, so that we all may praise your name and annunciate your wisdom and love!”

After the doctors were about to give up, the priest told them that maybe it seemed awkward but he insisted that they would not stop their efforts to bring me back to life. At that moment the German priest administered the sacrament of anointing of the sick. Doctor Christian said: “This is the most important thing to do now!” He really thought that I had been lost.

Stephan (the bus-leader) said: “I feel helpless. All we can do is to pray. I will go back to the bus and will all people invite to pray the rosary with me” and all people in the bus prayed the rosary with him. The priest took the holy oil and performed the holy sacrament of anointing of the sick whilst Christian and Markus continued their efforts to bring me back.

Only a few seconds after that the monitor showed them the first new heartbeat. They could not help but shout: “He came back. We got him back!”

Soon after they heard the ambulance coming down the street. They picked me up and took me to the hospital and Christian (the German doctor) accompanied me and Markus followed in the van.

I was three days in a coma. Woken up by my youngest sibling (of eight children) kissing me on the hand. In the Italian hospital, Filipo Neri in Rome, they diagnosed me with a rare disease of amyloidosis.

I am currently at my home in the state of Michigan, until further testing can be done.

To me this is all to amazing to believe. There was definitely divine intercession. I collapsed, there was a cardiologist at the sight, he had all his equipment and was able to bring me back with no damage to the heart nor the brain.

God Bless. In Christ, Br. Kevin Leahy

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