Posted by momofsurvivor on 10/10/2014

So, my 17 year old son had SCA on July 30, 2014. I found him at ~11pm on the floor in his bedroom. The last breaths woke me up. I knew as I walked into his room that this wasn't good. Immediately every breath I had left me, I was gasping for air, while trying to "wake" him up. I ran downstairs got my husband who picked up the phone dialed 911 on his way upstairs. He had vomit in his mouth, so my husband cleared his mouth and started CPR. It really only took the first police officer 2 minutes to get to our house. He helped with CPR until the EMTs arrived. They cardioconverted him twice at home, in his bedroom. the second time was successful. He was taken to childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh. He had respiratory failure due to aspirating vomit. He was put on a ventilator, sedated heavily and paralyzed to allow his lungs to recover for 12 days. Every test was negative...heart cath, cardiac stress MRI. Thankfully there was no damage from the arrest. His heart "looked good". He had an ICD implanted 4 days before his 17 birthday. Oh...lets no forget the brain. A mild anoxic brain damage showed in his MRI. (ok, I take responsibility for much panic and wasted time prior to CPR) When he was woken up at the hospital he could follow commands, but not use his right hand/arm at all. He has since regained full stregth and movement of his right arm. Just a little bit of short term memory loss, but is improving daily.

I have such tremendous feelings of guilt. I am not sleeping, I check on him a million times at night. I cant get the picture of him laying on the floor out of my mind.
Are there any parents out there who feel the same?????


Submitted by SCAFoundation on 10/13/2014


Thank you for reaching out. We are so happy to know that your son is doing well. From our perspective, you and your husband reacted as well as can be expected under such stressful circumstances. You ran for help, your husband called 911 and started CPR.

We welcome other parents of SCA survivors to share their perspectives.

Submitted by Feelingblessed on 10/13/2014


I am also a mother of a survivor. My 17 year old daughter went into sudden cardiac arrest sept 10, 2014. Thanks to God she had chest pains prior to the attack so we took her to the hospital. About 10 minutes after we got there she went into arrest they did chest compressions and shocked her 3 times. She was put on a venelater and flown to another hospital. There she was placed on a ECMO machine for a week. She spent two weeks in the hospital. She is home now and doing great. They think it was a bacteria that attacked her heart but no test came back conclusive. Her MRI showed a spot on her heart. We go back in December to have another MRI to see if it's gone (which the bacteria theory would be right).
I'm sharing with you because I went through it too. Unless you see your child laying there hearing those horrible breaths you can't understand. You did amazingly well and your son is alive thanks to your reaction of calling 911 and doing CPR. Every night I check on my daughter too. Just keep in mind both our children beat the odds and are alive and with us. They are meant to be on this earth. No need for you to feel guilty you did an amazing job...just enjoy this time with him. Praise God for his blessings!!!

Submitted by allisong on 10/13/2014


Dear MomofSurvivor,
The events in your family are so new that it is no wonder you are feeling overwhelmed, guilty, anxious, etc. Know that you did the very best anyone can do in that circumstance. As a mom of a child survivor, I know the feeling of helplessness. My son had his incident at 14 years old in 2009 and there were months upon months where I couldn't sleep and worried when he was out of my presence. I promise you it gets better. Knowing that he has an ICD is a blessing, a true security for him, you and your whole family. The personal experience you had will always be with you but it comes also with the gratitude and appreciation of life and health and still having him to share in it. Wishing you positive healing thoughts and know that 90 percent of life is how we let it affect us so take this time to recenter yourself. Thank Gd you were there to help. Find comfort knowing that. I once read a powerful message that I will share with you here.

In painful moments, we must make a choice. Will we allow the difficulties we face to become forces of destruction in our lives, or will we find a way to transform our suffering into a source of strength.

I hope you find solace and strength in what you were able to do. You were a blessing.

Thank you for the prayers..all prayers for my family are much appriceated! You are in my prayers as well. I pray God will grant you peace and knowledge to know just how amazing of a mom you are. Give your doubts to God he will carry them for you. God bless you and your family.