Bystanders Use CPR to Save 14-Year-Old

VANCOUVER, WA--No one saw 14-year-old Cody Sherrell hit the floor during basketball practice at La Center Middle School Tuesday night. But Dr. Mark Banks, a pediatric intensivist at Legacy Emanuel Hospital’s Randall Children’s Hospital said at a news conference today that it was the immediate response of bystanders performing CPR that kept Cody alive.

Paramedics were called to the gym at the school at around 5:15 p.m. “It was their early recognition, and their aggressive and effective use of CPR, and later the use of an AED (automatic external defibrillator) that allowed him to be with us here,” Banks said.

When Banks said “here,” he meant, still alive. Sherrell remains in critical condition, but is showing signs of improvement, Banks said: “We’re most concerned about what effect this had on his brain.” Banks said it took paramedics and doctors one hour to return Sherrell’s heart to a regular rhythm.

Banks said while it is rare for a seemingly healthy boy to go into sudden cardiac arrest, it does happen, and often happens without any symptoms beforehand. He said children’s hearts can stop after being hit in the chest by a baseball or other object, but that often the condition is tied to a genetic defect of the heart, or heart disease. Banks suspects that the underlying cause of Sherrell’s heart to just stop beating is cardiac arrhythmia—an irregular heartbeat.

“It’s a reasonable possibility, but we do not know at this time.” He said Sherrell is being treated aggressively with medications, and by use of a cooling blanket that keeps his body at around 32 to 34 degrees celsius (90 to 94 degrees fahrenheit) to prevent any further brain damage.

Banks encouraged all parents to make sure their children go through medical screening before participating in sports. “As random as this is, as unpredictable this is, you want to make it even less so,’’ he said. “We want as few surprises on the basketball court as we can possibly manage.”

SOURCE: The Oregonian

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