Man’s incredible revival after ‘dying’ 29 times
DANI Katz died 29 times before he found his true purpose in life.
After suffering that many cardiac arrests during a heart emergency in 2007 - a Gold Coast record - Mr Katz went from a pack a day smoker with Type 2 diabetes to a man on a mission, delivering a message of health to thousands.
It was a quiet Sunday evening 12 years ago when Mr Katz began to suffer unusual pain and low intensity burning in his chest.
Unbeknown to him, diabetics are four times more likely to have a heart attack but generally do not display the classic heart attack warning signs.
It was only thanks to his wife's quick thinking that an ambulance was called and had arrived at their home when things took a turn for the worse.
Falling in and out of consciousness while he was being rushed to hospital, the father of six was brought back to life with the use of a defibrillator several times on the road and then again in the emergency room.
Mr Katz said he did not feel any pain, but saw the "white light'' - the light some people report after having near-death experiences.
Doctors put three stents in his heart to unblock the left artery.
"It's the most resuscitations I've ever performed on a patient who survived," Gold Coast Health cardiologist Associate Professor Atifur Rahman told the Bulletin yesterday.
Mr Katz said that from that point, he decided to change for the better.
"My heart attack changed my life. I gave up smoking and started exercising every day," he said.
But he had suffered from depression post surgery, and Mr Katz said it was not until he told his story publicly for the first time on the front page of the Bulletin that he felt well again.
The report included a photo of him showing off his surgical scar - and he repeated that pose for this report.
"I didn't accept what had happened, I was very negative minded," Mr Katz said.
"It wasn't until I was approached by the Bulletin for an article in 2008 I realised I had a story to tell.
"That was a real turning point. It might sound corny but I was just an angry man, but at that point I realised it was something I can help other people with.''
Now 66, the Nerang man has spent over a decade sharing his personal experience with participants in the Gold Coast Health cardiac rehabilitation program, delivered at the Robina Health Precinct.
"It's still cathartic for me (telling my story). It helps me deal with it and hopefully gives others some motivation that life after a heart attack can be fulfilling," Mr Katz said.
Every year about 400 people recovering from a heart attack take part in the six-week rehabilitation program, which provides professional support to learn exercise techniques and better lifestyle habits.
Participants work with nurses, an exercise physiologist, physiotherapists, dietitians and other allied health professionals.
The Cardiac Rehabilitation Program accepts referrals from public and private hospitals, private cardiologists and general practitioners.