At 49 years old, Will Manser thought he was invincible. One day, in June 2019, Manser was driving to Lake City to drop his son off at school. He stopped for some breakfast and then was on the road to work. Four days later, he woke up in UF Health Heart & Vascular Hospital in Gainesville.
While driving, Manser had a heart attack that made him black out. His car drifted over the middle of the road and crashed into a truck parked on the other side. Fortunately for Manser, the owner of the truck knew CPR.
According to the EMTs who arrived on site, Manser’s heart stopped again. They brought him back to life with defibrillator paddles and soon he was being flown by helicopter to UF Health Shands Hospital. On the helicopter, Manser’s heart flat-lined yet again. The defibrillator brought him back to life once more.
Manser died three times during his journey to the hospital.
At the UF Health Heart & Vascular Hospital, cardiologist Michael Massoomi, MD, put Manser on an ice bed that worked to prevent tissue damage by slowing down his body’s functions. Manser had an 80% blockage in the “widow-maker” artery in his heart. During surgery, Massoomi placed a stent in the artery. Then, it was a matter of time to see how Manser would recover.
Manser was on life support at the time, hooked up to a ventilator. He became aware of his condition and what had happened on the fourth day in the hospital. He was in the hospital for a total of 10 days. He spent the next seven months going to weekly cardiac rehabilitation. His physicians at UF Health were determined to get his heart healthy.
Almost two years later, Manser says the ordeal has been the best thing that ever happened to him. He feels better than ever. He is now more considerate of his diet and quit smoking. With medication and treatments, his blood pressure is the lowest it has ever been. Manser has nothing to be concerned about and his body is back to normal.
Before the accident, Manser didn’t realize he had a heart problem. He would go to the doctor when he had to but wouldn’t go when he was experiencing even mild symptoms. At times, he would drive himself to the emergency room, sit in his car and let the symptoms pass, and drive back home.
“Just like they say, go have it looked at, don’t assume it’s just gas,” Manser said.
He realizes it was one in a million chance for everything to turn out the way it did. If he had gotten on the interstate, it could have been a different story. There wouldn’t have been anyone there to help save him.
“UF Health was on top of their game with every aspect,” Manser said. “They took really good care of me. At a hospital, it was the best experience I ever had.”