Survivor: Audrey Tatar
Date of Event:
Location of Event: Home (Chicago, IL)Rescuer(s):
I was a 52-year-old practicing physician and soccer mom. I had no cardiac risk factors and was thin and fit. I thought I was perfectly healthy when I woke up one Saturday morning and was getting ready to drive my 15-year-old son Eli to a soccer tournament. I was drying my hair when I suddenly had very severe pain which felt like something tearing in my chest. I thought it was heartburn and took a handful of Tums, Mylanta and Prilosec to no avail. I felt very panicked and started yelling for help. My son looked at me and said he was calling 911. I said NO, I’m having heartburn and a panic attack and I just need to calm down. He didn’t listen. He called anyway. A couple of minutes later, feeling a little better, I asked Eli to call back and tell them not to come. He refused and told me that he could already hear the sirens. The Chicago paramedics arrived and coerced me to get into the ambulance so they could do an EKG. A second later the paramedic saw me having a seizure and I was in vfib. He performed CPR and successfully defibrillated me. I later learned that I had had a heart attack (NSTEMI) caused by SCAD, Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection, the most common cause of heart attack in young women. If not for then 15-year-old Eli’s recognition of my critical condition, and his perseverance in getting help, I would certainly have died that day. My son Eli and I are now proud volunteers for Illinois Heart Rescue, helping to pay it forward by teaching bystander CPR.