Cardiac Arrest

Five Heart-Stopping Years as a CEO On the Feds' Hit-List
Length: 11 hrs and 13 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (86 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Who polices America's prosecutors? And when they set their sights on an innocent CEO, can he survive a five-year, $25 million legal labyrinth to save the company he built, and himself from prison?

Howard Root started Vascular Solutions with little more than a dream and an idea for a single medical device. Fifteen years later, his Minnesota company had created over 500 American jobs and developed more than 50 new medical devices that saved and improved lives.

But in 2011, the federal government threatened to destroy his company and put Howard behind bars for years. Why?

Federal prosecutors had been sold a bill of goods - a tall tale peddled by a money-hungry ex-employee out for revenge. All over one device. A device that never harmed a single patient and made up less than 1% of the company's sales.

The investigation revealed the charges to be baseless, but the scalp-hunting prosecutors didn't back off. Instead they dug in - threatening witnesses, misleading grand juries, and strategically leaking secret documents. Whatever it took to pressure a headline-grabbing settlement.

Howard Root stood up to the shakedown. Five years, 121 attorneys, and $25 million in legal fees later, his life's work and freedom rested in the hands of 12 strangers in a San Antonio jury room. Would Howard and his company be vindicated by the verdict, or had he made the biggest mistake of his life by challenging the federal government?

Cardiac Arrest is the eye-opening true story of life on the Feds' hit-list, told from the desk of a CEO who decided to fight back. Follow Howard from the boardroom to the courtroom as he tells the inside story of the case that sparked outrage in the pages of The Wall Street Journal and triggered a congressional investigation.

©2016 Howard C. Root (P)2017 Howard C. Root

What listeners say about Cardiac Arrest

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An absolute must-read

I spent 5 1/2 years as a federal prosecutor and another year and a half in the United States Department of Justice before that. Now a defense attorney, I know all too well how abusive the government can be when it brings misguided cases. If you care at all about the justice system or how it is set up to give prosecutors almost unlimited power with no accountability, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is terrifying, funny, brilliant, and unputdownable. I've never seen a more vivid take on what federal criminal trials are actually like. Bravo!

3 people found this helpful

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Must read non-fiction about US justice system

Cardiac Arrest is the story in Howard Root's on words of how the US Justice Department aided by an employee at the FDA set out to put Vascular Solutions, the publicly traded healthcare company he founded almost 20 earlier, out of business and send him to jail for years. Finally, in February 2016 after 5 years and spending $25 million on legal fees and a jury trial lasting several weeks the jury found Howard Root and Vascular Solutions not guilty on all 15 government charges. Charges were eventually dropped against two other employees who were charged with crimes because they would not lie to help the prosecutors win their case. The government's case was so weak that the defense decided to rest without calling a single witness.

The US Justice Department had to be aware that Howard Root and Vascular Solutions were totally innocent of the crimes with which they were charged but decided to let their prosecutors go forward with the prosecution. In this case the prosecutors simply chose the wrong man for their false prosecution. Howard Root is wealthy AND he was willing to expose himself to potential imprisonment in order to clear his name and that of the company he founded and ran. Most people in a similar situation would cut a deal and pay a huge fine even if wealthy in order to avoid time in prison.

In a fair system the prosecutors who pursued this case from 2011 to 2016 would themselves be in jail today, but they are immune from prosecution. Indeed, they suffer no penalty whatever which is amazing when one considers the openly dishonest tactics they used. They will not be held accountable in any way for their actions.

Most prosecutors are honest and exercise great care to be fair and reasonable. But the immunity that goes with their jobs frees those who are willing to go "headhunting" for perceived easy, but innocent, prey assures them that the risk penalty is near zero.

Cardiac Arrest is an important book that all US citizens should read.

8 people found this helpful

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Riveting and deeply moving story

This book should be read required reading for students across the country. Its witty, subtle and utterly necessary expose of regulatory and prosecutorial overreach should be a wake up call for people across the political spectrum.

1 person found this helpful

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Must Read

This book reads itself. Hard to put down. Anybody that wants to better understand the Founder's fear of large unaccountable centralized government will surely benefit from this read.

1 person found this helpful

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Could Not Stop Listening

I listened to this book right after listening to Bill Browder's "Red Notice," which is about Browder's success in high finance in post-communist Russia and his persecution by the Russian government. I thought it would be an interesting juxtaposition because Browder was a couple years behind me in my fraternity at the University of Colorado, while Howard Root was one year behind me at the University of Minnesota Law School. Both books were excellent, and the frightening part was how similar Browder's description of Putin's system of justice resembled Root's characterization of our Justice Department. Spoiler alert -- nobody dies while in prison in "Cardiac Arrest," but that was the only really distinguishing difference. "Cardiac Arrest" was terrifying because Howard Root was not a political operative or a bad actor in any way and yet forces in the government did everything they could to destroy him, his company, and anyone who questioned the prosecution. Civil trials about business issues might not seem sexy enough for the average reader, but the book does an excellent job of explaining the various court proceedings, strategies, etc. Similarly, FDA off-label enforcement may not sound interesting, but it was presented in a way that should be clear to everyone. The legal machinations were especially interesting because, unlike your typical Grisham novel, they were real. I highly recommend this book. I can't believe I waited so long to read it.

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Awesome!

Awesome story about government power out of control. Enjoyed every word of this great book.

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This book unexpectedly delivered

Assumed this would be a dry boring legalese laced book. Despite that it was engrossing.

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Well worth listening to!

It will give you chills and keep you up at night but it is a great story more people should hear, well written with a good narrator.

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Very well written, and I highly recommend it!

This is the incredible true story of a man who was criminally prosecuted for following the law.

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An important store

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

Not only is this an important story that needs to be told, but it is done so in a way that left me enthralled and at the edge of my seat, regardless of the fact that I already knew the outcome.

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  • Fred
  • 10-11-20

Brilliant book - read it

To start with the story is incredible. Second, the book is very well written. Third, Mark Schectman was a great choice for the narration. This is one of those stories where you are yourself, how could this happen?