Brought back from the dead

Man says co-workers and 'miracle' saved his life

Matt and Lori Enriquez relax in their Grand Junction home as Matt continues his recuperation from a near-fatal heart attack. The heart pillow came from the Greeley hospital where Matt was sent after he collapsed. The pillow was signed by doctors and nurses at the hospital.

It’s a miracle that Matt Enriquez is alive.

That’s the belief of the 43-year-old Halliburton worker. Frankly that’s what his wife, Lori, his family and his co-workers think, too.

Enriquez’ co-workers should know. They are the ones who found their friend on the ground, not breathing, “blue as a dead fish,” they would say later.

Enriquez was working alongside fellow Grand Valley residents Dan Malone and Don Walker on Oct. 9 in the oil fields near Greeley when he fell to ground, his heart stopped by cardiac arrest.

Co-workers spent a frantic 10 minutes giving Enriquez chest compressions and breathing into his mouth, until Enriquez finally drew a breath. It would be 40 more agonizing minutes of the work until emergency responders arrived by helicopter.

“I wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t done what they did,” Enriquez said seriously, in quiet voice, finally home Friday for the first time in weeks after being treated at several hospitals.

Co-workers took off their reflective uniforms to form the letter H on the ground to alert the rescue helicopter.

By the time his wife Lori and their two sons arrived at Greeley’s North Colorado Medical Center via a Halliburton private jet, about 20 co-workers who gathered at the hospital were certain Enriquez had slipped away.

“When I got there, they were giving me the pesame,” Lori said, explaining a Spanish word to express condolences. “They were all telling me they were sorry. Nobody believed he was going to make it.”

But Lori had been in to see her husband, and he was alive, at least barely. Staff at Greeley’s hospital purposefully kept Enriquez sedated for five days.

On the fourth day, Enriquez started to come to.

Lori commented that she’d do anything for a smile, “and he opened his eyes halfway and he gave us the biggest Colgate smile,” she said.

From then on, the news just kept getting better. Doctors thought Enriquez might have brain damage. He doesn’t. They thought his sternum and some ribs might have been broken. They weren’t. Doctors initially thought his recovery would take at least four weeks in a hospital. He was released in a little more than two weeks.

Enriquez said he is most moved by the outpouring of support of friends and family, and he plans to now to spend more time with loved ones.

“This is really more than doctors fixing me up,” Matt Enriquez said. “To me, I can’t deny the miracle that happened. I hope I can bless the people who bless me and I thank Him. I’ll be more diligent with my faith and kids, and family and friends.”


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