Las Vegas card dealer dies for 10 minutes, defies odds to live

Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 11:12 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A Las Vegas cards dealer defied serious medical odds after suffering a heart attack and dying for ten minutes, miraculously revived by hospital staff.

Tamas Kalmar, 49, is a casino dealer and has worked for years at Aria Resort and Casino. On Feb. 14, he was working on his motorcycle when he collapsed and had a heart attack.

“I just lost my breath, hit the ground like a sack of potatoes,” Kalmar said. His wife called 911, and Kalmar was taken to Sunrise Hospital.

“I remember that I got assigned bed number eight in the ER, and that was the last thing I actually remember... it was just a complete darkness,” Kalmar said.

Dr. Nayab Zafar, Structural Heart Program Medical Director at Sunrise Hospital was assigned to treat Kalmar, and said Kalmar suffered cardiac arrest; the colloquial term for the condition, a 100% blockage in the heart, called a “Widowmaker.”

Fewer than one in 10 people survive, if a heart attack happens outside a hospital, at a rate of 3%, according to Dr. Zafar.

“Right in front of our eyes, he just flatlined. No pulse, no blood pressure, nothing, no signs of life,” Dr. Zafar said. The team attempted chest compressions and shocked his heart 40 times to start his heart again.

Kalmar’s heath team was confident they could revive his heart.

“We thought we could bring him back...We knew we could bring him back, we had that conviction,” Dr. Zafar said.

Kalmar said he’s grateful for his doctors and nurses at Sunrise Hospital.

“I appreciate all the effort and care that they put into saving my life,” Kalmar said.

The cards dealer hopes to fully recover and return to work soon. He is fundraising for his medical expenses. Click here for the GoFundMe page