A series of events so improbable that they would not be believable if they were not true.

Dr. Joshua Silverman, MD, PhD
There was ONE building on campus with a mobile defibrillator.
The head of operations had completed his CPR training the WEEK before Howard collapsed.
The ambulance that came to the Harvard Business School campus was 1 of 3 in the entire city of Boston that carried "TPA."
The tech onboard the ambulance had advanced training specific to cardiac arrest.
The head of the cardiac unit happened to be on duty at a local hospital.
At the hospital, Howard was put into a 3-day medically induced coma.
When Howard was brought out of the coma, there was NO COGNITIVE DAMAGE.

The Story Behind The Story


When Professor Howard H. Stevenson woke up one January morning and headed to the Harvard Business School campus as he had countless times before, he had no reason to think that this might be the day that changed–and almost ended–his life at 64 years old.

It was a typical day until his “ticker simply stopped ticking.”

With no warning, Howard experienced what’s called unattended cardiac arrest–a particularly deadly type of heart attack with less than a 1% survival rate.

The series of events that both led up to and followed Howard’s event would be–what Dr. Joshua Silverman, MD, PhD–describes as “so improbable that they would not be believable if they were not true.”
By all measures, this terrifying moment was the end of an extraordinary life cut short. But on this January day, it was not to be.

As Howard fell to the ground, a sequence of events began to unfold — any one of which would have by themselves been considered highly unlikely — that, in aggregate, are simultaneously inexplicable and miraculous. 

The most remarkable part of the story--the doctors said upon brining Howard out of the coma--was that there was no cognitive damage. The man had experienced the most extreme trauma imaginable and an estimated 4 minutes without oxygen to the brain--and emerged--inexplicably--unharmed.

Howard had miraculously lived through an event with a survival rate of less than 1% (.001) through…well, an inexplicable, incalculable series of events.