Man suffers cardiac arrest on Vail ski trip, lives to thank medical staff one year later

Posted at 5:18 PM, Apr 11, 2017

DENVER-- A man from Maryland flew to Denver Tuesday to thank the medical staff who saved his life after an almost fatal cardiac arrest.

Pete Roskovich, 51, and his wife Linda, visited the staff at Presbyterian/St. Luke's hospital to thank them for their care that saved Roskovich's life after he almost died on Vail Mountain in March of 2016. 

Roskovich took a ski trip to Vail mountain with his friend and his nephew and had no idea it would be the hardest run of his life.
"What he told me I said was ‘I don't feel well. I'm gonna throw up.’ And then he said I went down on my hands and knees and I went out," said Roskovich.
He was in cardiac arrest and thankfully, his friend immediately started CPR. The sequence of events that followed are almost too hard to believe.
"It got like six inches or 12 inches overnight, so everybody was playing hookie, lucky for me," said Roskovich.
The crowded slopes included two doctors skiing behind him that jumped in to help. Ski patrol got there within minutes and administered  an automated external defibrillator to shock his heart. Transporting Roskovich down the side of the mountain took 45 minutes. A snow mobile would assist to pull them down on the flat surfaces.
"They would ski down the hill with me, with two toboggins next together and they were doing CPR the whole entire time," said Roskovich.
After paramedics took him to the Vail Valley Medical Center he would eventually make it to ICU doctor Jeffrey Schwartz at the Presybterian/ St. Luke’s hospital in Denver, more than 100 miles away.
"If you take one hundred people  with this kind of cardiac arrest, you will have one or two percent that will survive," said Schwartz.
Peters' wife Linda asked Schwartz how bad her husband’s condition was.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, what is this? And he looked at me like a deer in the head lights. Like are you nuts lady? This was a widow maker,” said Roscovich as she recounted that conversation.
Doctors kept Pete in a coma to hopefully save his brain and then a miracle happened.
"It was remarkable because I do remember when we took him out of his hypothermia, after we stopped the sedation, he gave a thumbs up which was amazing," said Schwartz.
Tuesday it came full circle inside a conference room at Presbyterian and St. Luke’s hospital in front of an audience of hospital staff. The year in review, gave Peter and his family a new outlook on life.
"I appreciate everyone in that room. I’m glad I could come back and tell my story. Everybody is part of it. It’s way bigger than me," said Roscovich.


Also present was a paramedic from Eagle County who helped transport Roskovich off the mountain. 

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