ONLY ON 3: 'Miracle Man' alive and well after heart stops - WSMV Channel 4

ONLY ON 3: 'Miracle Man' alive and well after heart stops beating for 55 minutes

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Tony Dunn talks with Channel 3 about his near-death experience. Tony Dunn talks with Channel 3 about his near-death experience.
CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -

A Cleveland man has been dubbed 'the miracle man' by his doctors after his heart stopped beating for almost an hour. He was on the path to recovery after surgery, when things took a turn for the worst. He says he should not be here today but his wife and family are more than thankful he is alive.

Tony Dunn was recovering from major surgery, after doctors found a spot on his pancreas. It was 10 days after the surgery he was set to be released from the hospital but started having trouble breathing. Little did he know he had a blood clot in both of his lungs and his heart just stopped, for a total of 55 minutes.

"People have asked what I was feeling during that time. And all I can say is, is I felt extremely safe. I felt peace. I felt as though I was in good hands," says Dunn.

Fifty-five-year-old Dunn does not remember much during the 55 minutes doctors fought to keep him alive. But he says he does know he was never afraid.

"I don't remember any fear. I don't remember anybody being around that was panicked or anything like that. I just felt extreme peace," he says.

"It was very scary. Very scary," says Beverly Dunn.

For his wife of 20 years, it was the longest hour of her life.

"One of the nurses, I think, told us it was like taking 55,000 hits to the chest," says Beverly.

A nurse herself, all Beverly could do was stand by as doctors pounded on her husband's chest, going through three 'crash carts' of medicine and shocks to the heart.

"They let me go back during the middle of the code. They let me go back to talk to him," says Beverly, holding back tears.

She asked Tony to keep fighting.

"I thought it would be the last time I got to talk to him or see him."

"Just about the point they were getting ready to call it, my heartbeat started," says Tony.

It has been two weeks since Tony was released from the hospital. He spent 21 days in ICU recovering.

"They dubbed me 'miracle man.'"

On a follow up visit with his surgeon, Tony asked his doctor for an explanation.

"He said that it had to be God," says Tony.

He and his wife agree.

"I think it is a very appropriate title," Beverly says with a laugh.

But it is a title Tony humbly accepts.

"I'm the beneficiary of a miracle. I didn't have anything to do with it," he says.

Another amazing part to this story is that Tony has no brain damage. His check up Monday was good and clear. His doctors say Tony's determination and preparation helped him in the long run. Before his surgery, Tony made a point to get in shape and be physically prepared for the major operation.

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