Thrive by IU Health

September 19, 2023

He volunteers because we saved his life

He volunteers because we saved his life

“In late 2017, I died,” says Jim Nettleman.

He was watching the Michigan vs. Ohio State University football game with his family when his heart stopped. His son Matt, who was completing his residency program at the time, started CPR. The ambulance arrived and CPR continued for 20 – 25 minutes. No one felt he was going to survive except the team of providers at IU Health Arnett Hospital.

He was placed in a coma. A few days later he started pulling at his tubes. The nurse told him to stop—he did. She then asked him to point at different things in the room—no response. His son suggested she ask him to do the Macarena—he started dancing. The providers knew then they could proceed with his quintuple bypass.

“Did we win?” was the first question Nettleman, a die-hard Michigan fan, asked his son when he woke up in strange surroundings, eight days after the game. The answer was no—to which Nettleman replied, “Then why did you wake me up?”

After his heart attack, he felt the time was right to retire. Two months later he started volunteering at Arnett—the place that saved his life.

Jim Nettleman volunteering at IU Health Arnett Hospital

“This is how I can help,” says Nettleman on volunteering. “I get so much out of it. I feel energized.”

Nettleman’ s favorite thing to do is hassle people who enter the main doors on his Tuesdays—especially if they are wearing Purdue gear.

“Most people appreciate the interaction,” says Nettleman. “Some people have forgotten how to engage with each other. I love the team at the hospital and the work they do. Sometimes I will step up and remind patients and visitors that politeness goes a long way.”