Military veteran who suffered a near-fatal heart attack reunites with the man who saved his life

It’s the “miracle at the gas station” and a story for the ages of a couple who have been married for 52 years

CHICAGO — Going to the gas station these days can be a painful experience, but it was just what the doctor ordered for Pat and Tom Hamilton.

“We worked at home. Pat said, ‘Are you feeling alright?’ I said, ‘No, I’m not. I really don’t feel good at all.’”

Retired nurse Pat Hamilton insisted they both go to the emergency room. While they drove to Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital, fate would stop them. Mrs Pat soon noticed that Tom was slumped and unconscious.

“A lot of people turned and watched, and then I had a miracle worker sitting in his car over there by the building and he pulled over right away,” Pat Hamilton said.

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Enter the Good Samaritan: Tom Paladin.

“I’m just like, ‘What is she yelling at and why is she blowing her horn?'” he recalled.

Paladin is a former soldier who is skilled in CPR. He found Tom Hamilton had no pulse and was unresponsive, so he began chest compressions.

Pat and Tom Hamilton (Picture: WGN)

“Had to be a good five or six minutes, no pulse, no breathing at all. I started CPR again and another three minutes or so went by and he gasped, very shallow, very short,” Paladin said.

Paramedics came to take Tom Hamilton away.

“After that, I wasn’t sure I’d ever hear anything; the result, what happened?” said paladins.

Tom Hamilton coded three more times in the ambulance. Once stabilized, doctors at Palos Hospital put an Impella pump in his heart, but were still very skeptical. Fortunately, Tom Hamilton regained consciousness after eight days.

Some time later, Pat Hamilton returned to the gas station. The man behind the counter wondered what had happened to her husband.

“I’m happy to say that he saved his life thanks to a man who was here,” Pat revealed. “I said, ‘I just wish I could thank him.’ He said, “Oh, that’s interesting; He lives just a block away. Let me call him.’”

And with that, Tom, Tom and Pat quickly became friends.

“If he weren’t there [Tom] would be dead now,” said Pat Hamilton. “I know this in my heart because I know enough medication that if you don’t come in and start CPR right away, you’ve lost the patient.”

Tom Paladin talks to Pat and Tom Hamilton (Picture: WGN)

“I’m so looking forward to being with her. Our day ends when we have either had a nice cocktail or a nice meal together and she has done everything to keep me happy so that I really look forward to getting out of the hospital and coming home again . So we’re almost there,” added Tom Hamilton.

An interesting tidbit: Tom Paladin’s father and Tom Hamilton served on the same Navy ship, just a few years apart.

“My father served on the same aircraft carrier as Tom and got off in 1969, a year before Tom went on the ship,” Paladin said.

For her part, Pat believes divine intervention was at play.

“The Miracle at the Gas Station,” she said. “because God put this man right where I needed him” Military veteran who suffered a near-fatal heart attack reunites with the man who saved his life

Grace Reader

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