LifeVest saves Ford City man's life on back-to-back days

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FORD CITY, Pa. —

A Ford City man credits something he was wearing for saving his life twice on back to back days.

Bill Wolfe, 61, was all alone watching television at his home when his heart gave out.

“I didn't even realize I passed out. Then I woke up and it was like I had just gotten out of the shower. My hair was wet dripping sweat,” he said.

The very next day, he had another cardiac arrest, an episode this time witnessed by his son.

“I could tell something was wrong with him just by looking at him. His eyes started rolling back in his head,” said his son Mike.

Bill Wolfe survived because he wore a LifeVest, a product made by Pittsburgh company Zoll.

His doctor at Allegheny General Hospital prescribed the LifeVest after Bill had a heart attack and stent placement in June.

“We know that after a bad heart attack or myocardial infarction, the first 30 to 40 days afterwards is the most dangerous for something we call sudden cardiac death,” explained Dr. Kenneth Judson. 

The vest is essentially a very smart defibrillator you wear under your clothes.

When it senses a patient’s heartbeat has stopped, it delivers a shock to jump-start the heart.

The vest sounds a warning before it delivers a shock  that allows a conscious patient to delay or cancel a treatment.

More than 100,000 people have now used the LifeVest as a level of protection.

Wolfe now has a tiny defibrillator implanted under his skin.

“If the vest didn't exist, you wouldn't be talking to me.  I'd be dead,” he said.

He nearly died three times but now has a chance to watch his grandchildren grow up and the opportunity to enjoy his retirement.