Defying the odds: ‘Brain dead’ New Bedford father recovering from heart injury

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — A New Bedford father is defying the odds. Casey Silva is recovering from a heart injury at Mass General Hospital.

“I honestly thought I lost him,” said his wife Cathy Silva from her husband’s hospital bedside.

The week before Thanksgiving, Casey was preparing for shoulder surgery, when he suddenly collapsed in his doctor’s office during a pre-op appointment.

“His eyes got really really wide and he looked over to me, and said I don’t feel good and he started gasping for air and then he collapsed,” said Cathy.

Casey’s doctor began compressions, shocked with twice with a defibrillator, and managed to get his heartbeat back.

His family says that doctor’s actions save Casey’s life. But once he was transported to the hospital, the prognosis wasn’t good.

“They told us 98% that he’d be in a vegetative state,” said Cathy.

Neurologists believed Casey was brain dead and would never recover any brain activity.

His family was praying for a miracle. Then, it came. Last Sunday Casey opened his eyes, smiled, and managed small movements in his arms and legs.

His wife Cathy described that moment saying, “It was just hope. He looked like himself. To see him smiling, it was probably the best moment since this happened.”

The 46-year old, father of two, had no prior health issues. He loved going to the gym and working at the Buttonwood Zoo.

“He’s very loving and caring. Loves his family. Loves where he works,” said Cathy.

Doctors still don’t know what caused him to suffer the heart injury and go into cardiac event, but did recently perform a biopsy to hopefully learn more.

Since this happened, Cathy hasn’t left her husband’s side, which also means she hasn’t returned to her job as a social worker. Now, with both parents out of work, the family is struggling without any income. Her sister, Kathylee Alves, created a GoFundMe to help with hospital and everyday living costs as the family travels from the South Coast to MGH every day.

“We’re an hour to an hour and a half away. That’s gas, that’s parking every day,” said Alves. “I wanted to try and alleviate as much of the financial burden as I could, take one thing off her plate that she doesn’t have to worry about.”

Cathy says it’s been tough on her two children, but she’ll continue to fight because she knows that’s what Casey is doing.

“His family is the most important to him,” she said. “He’s a fighter, so I know if anyone can do it, it’s him.”

If you want to help, visit the GoFundMe here.


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