Houston police detective thanks police officers, medical staff in Newark who saved his life

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NEWARK, NJ — On Dec. 21, Houston Police Detective James McFarland visited Newark Beth Israel Medical Center for a long awaited reunion with the first responders and medical team that saved his life, after he suffered a massive heart attack at Newark Liberty International Airport last summer. The detective and his wife got to thank the four Port Authority police officers who resuscitated him at the airport, and the cardiologists, surgeons and nurses from NBIMC who performed the emergency quadruple bypass surgery on him. 

On June 6, McFarland and his family were on their way home from a vacation in France when he collapsed at the airport baggage claim after suffering a massive heart attack. A fellow passenger, who happened to be an EMT, performed CPR, and with the help of the Port Authority Police Department, they rushed McFarland to NBIMC.

McFarland, who exercised daily and trained in martial arts, never felt the symptoms of his heart disease, but his heart was functioning at just 15 percent. Three of his four major arteries were completely blocked and he had a leaky mitral valve. A multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, heart failure specialists and cardiothoracic surgeons quickly diagnosed his condition, and, led by cardiac surgeon Dr. Persida Drotar, performed an emergency quadruple bypass and mitral valve repair.

McFarland is now back to his normal routine — exercising every day, working as a police detective and spending time with his family, including his 13 grandchildren.

Photos Courtesy of NBIMC