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February 25, 2014

Lawyer thanks nurse, others who saved his life

'Chain of survival' helped him beat heart attack

HAVERHILL — Well-known local attorney Scott Gleason said getting a second chance at life was like “winning the lottery.”

“How do I say thank you?” Gleason said to a crowd of people that included several who played a role in saving his life after he suffered a heart attack while training to run in this year’s Boston Marathon.

Local emergency workers said it doesn’t always work out this way, but when it does, lives are saved. In this case, what they refer to as the “chain of survival” worked to perfection and literally saved Gleason’s life.

They all gathered at Gleason’s downtown law office last week to meet the man who they last saw on the brink of death. Gleason has practiced law since 1980 and has a law office on Merrimack Street with brothers Thomas and Sean Gleason. Scott Gleason is known for having a heavy workload and representing public officials in high-profile cases.

One of the last to arrive at Friday’s gathering was Claire Walsh of Groveland, a registered nurse who works in the emergency room at Merrimack Valley Hospital. She told Gleason that when she discovered him the day he collapsed, she was making a third attempt at getting to Mass at Sacred Hearts Church that weekend.

“I’m glad to see you upright,” Walsh told Scott Gleason as they hugged.

“I know better than anyone how lucky I was,” Gleason said.

Gleason said he has no memory of that day, doesn’t remember collapsing, and didn’t learn about what happened to him until awaking after six days in an induced coma at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston.

“I grew up in a family that was taught to appreciate everything we are given,” Gleason told the nurses, paramedics, police officers, firefighters and others who played a role in saving his life. “Here I am at age 62 and find there is more to give back.”

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