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‘Saved by the Lord,’ Dallas man survives heart attack in church



DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A Dallas man is sharing what he calls his “miracle story” after he nearly died. He was in church when he went into sudden cardiac arrest.

“We have done the Lord’s Prayer and are getting ready to make the donation.”

That was the last thing Bob Richardson, 72, remembers about the morning of August 28. He was sitting in his usual pew, at the early service at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church.

“My wife, who was sitting right next to me, looked over, and apparently my head went back, and I dropped the envelope that was going in the collection plate,” Richardson said.

Dr. Gary Weinstein and his family happened to be sitting just across the aisle, about 30 feet away. When he noticed something was wrong with Richardson, he sprang into action.

“I went over and looked at him, and he didn’t look very well. I said, ‘I’m a doc,'” said Dr. Weinstein, who is the Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. And, while the organist and pianist continued to play, he started CPR as the senior pastor called 911.

“I think everybody was in an attitude of prayer, because everybody knew what was going on was very serious,” said Dr. Stan Copeland of Lovers Lane United Methodist Church.

A church worker grabbed a defibrillator, and Weinstein shocked Richardson. Still no pulse. He continued CPR, and after a heart-wrenching minute, Richardson took a breath.

“The pulse got stronger, and then the paramedics came and whisked him away,” said Weinstein.

Richardson spent five days in the hospital but returned to his favorite pew a week later to worship and say thank you to the man who saved his life – with a little help, he believes.

“There’s a lot more deserving people that the Lord could have saved, but I’m glad He picked me that day,” said Richardson.

Weinstein, who is Jewish and was visiting the church with his wife and father-in-law, said he simply did what anyone with a heart and knowledge of CPR would do.

“I was just in the right place at the right time. No question.”

Tuesday, the church added three additional defibrillators to the ones they already had, making sure they have one near every worship area in case it’s ever needed again.