By Jade Waddy
Thursday, Oct. 3 was a normal day for Alex Coreas. He went to work, came home and went on an evening walk with his three dogs at nearby park. As a fast-moving storm was passing over the park, Coreas quickly began to make his way to his truck when the unthinkable happened: Coreas was struck by lightning.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the odds of being struck by lightning in the United States in any one year are 1 in 500,000. For those who are struck, the consequences can be debilitating, even fatal. About 10 percent of those struck by lightning die. Those who survive may suffer muscle injuries, eye injuries, burns and skin lesions, according to the CDC.
Coreas’ lightning strike was captured on security cameras at Stuebner Airline Veterinary Hospital. Hospital employees and bystanders quickly rushed to Coreas and found him unresponsive and without his socks and shoes. They quickly began administering CPR and called Cypress Creek EMS.
Coreas’ heart wasn’t beating when paramedics arrived, but they continued to provide care and Coreas’ heart began to beat again. Cypress Creek EMS called for Life Flight® to quickly transport him to the hospital.
A small window of time opened when the dangerous weather conditions and storms moved in the opposite direction of Life Flight’s intended flight path, allowing the crew of Pilot Mike Mock, Sean Manard and Robert Atripaldi to safely reach Coreas.
Life Flight transported Coreas to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center where he spent several days recovering from his injuries.
“I remember waking up in the helicopter because I heard the propellers and asking about my dogs,” Coreas said. “I don’t remember being struck by lightning at all.”
The lightning strike tore through Coreas’ shoe and melted his sock.
“The doctors believe the lightning traveled all the way through my body and came through my head and out of my ear and damaged my right ear. I can’t hear,” Coreas added.
Although he will need additional surgery to repair his right ear, he’s thankful to be alive.
“I’m just so very thankful to everyone for their role in saving my life,” Coreas said. “I’m now encouraged to get my own CPR training because maybe I can save someone’s life in the future.”