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On A Positive Note: Man Who Suffered Massive Heart Attack Meets First Responders Who Saved His Life

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - For people who have experienced a medical emergency, it's not very often they have the chance to meet the men and women who tried to save their life, or better yet, say thank you. On Tuesday, one local man got to do just that.

In this case, the survivor suffered a heart attack at work. It was so serious that at one point, first responders were sure they had lost him. But as time would tell, this was not the end of his story but the beginning of a new chapter.

Without skipping a beat, watching him walk through the doors of the mayor's conference room, you would never guess how lucky City-County credit union worker Matt Meisenhelter truly is.

"In short, I had a heart attack," he said.

The day was May 28, the Friday before Memorial Day. The City-County Building was a ghost town, and not many people were there except for Matt Meisenhelter and some of his colleagues.

He started experiencing chest pain, and after some convincing, agreed to call 911.

"They called back a second time, because soon after, you had passed out and went into cardiac arrest," said Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich.

The response was all hands on deck. Meisenhelter nearly lost his life.

He needed CPR, several shocks and medication.

"With the help of the police officer, the sheriff doing CPR, the sheriff, Drew Williams, the medics that arrived followed by the firefighters -- I honestly, being there myself, I did not think that you were going to survive," said Hissrich.

But he did​ survive, a reassuring sign that the chain of survival for these first responders held strong that day.

"Recognizing you may be having an event, and I think his colleagues did that, activating 911 so folks can give instructions on how to give CPR over the phone, having someone arrive on scene so somebody can start CPR and bring an AED defibrillator," said Public Safety Medical Director Dr. Ronald Roth.

With his new lease on life, the survivor shed 50 pounds and has been focusing on his health.

For him, the opportunity to shake the hands of his heroes is something not even an honorary Public Safety coin can't buy.

"It's too big to just say thank you, there's no way I could say that enough. Thank you all, you're part of how I'm here today, I couldn't be here without you, thank you all," he said.

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