A College Student’s Story of Survival

For most college students facing their 21st birthday, plans for celebration and exciting thoughts for experiencing new places and people are the common theme. Unfortunately in my case, thoughts of survival and whether I was ever going to maintain a normal lifestyle at 20 were at the forefront of my contemplations. At the age of 15, I was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a disease that… Read More

Circle of Life That Nearly Wasn’t

What would you like for your 21st birthday? How about a wearable defibrillator? Liz had to wear one for three months, think of a bullet-proof vest, add a battery and you get the idea. Why would she need or even want that? A few weeks earlier, she had been practicing for the varsity basketball team and doing a “circle of life” sprinting exercise to earn her jersey. She had five seconds to go and… Read More

It Takes a Team to Save a Life

It was right after noon on Good Friday, April 13, 2012, in University Park, PA. Daria Oller, DPT, ATC, PT, CSCS, a PhD Candidate in Kinesiology - Athletic Training and Sports Medicine at Penn State, and Alison Krajewski, MS, ATC, Athletic Training Instructor, were in their academic offices when a squash instructor came running, asking for help. Someone had collapsed on the nearby squash courts.… Read More

Master Swimmers Don't Die…

Brian is a member of a US Masters Swimmer group. There are about 40 of them in Tucson that get together regularly and swim their hearts out at the University of Arizona pool. On this particular Tuesday morning Brian nearly did! About half way into the session he didn’t feel at all well, and got out of the pool with an unusual fatigue. He decided to finish for the day and shower. That was when his… Read More

Floods & Mudslides Teaching the Importance of First-Responders

It happened suddenly, as Vtac does, at 11:00pm on Wednesday night. Serena noticed it happening, I ran upstairs, found her grey and unresponsive, and started CPR immediately, while Serena and Rhiannon called 911. I continued CPR for around 13 minutes (documented by the emergency call to ambulance arrival time) until EMS arrived. As we waited, Serena kept a look out for the ambulance, Holden held… Read More

I Have an Avenue to Tell My Story that Most People Don't

As a news anchor on Pittsburgh’s KDKA TV, Susan Koeppen is used to reporting the news. But on November 20, 2011, she made news when she suffered sudden cardiac death near her home in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood. Ms. Koeppen was out jogging with her friend Beth Sutton that morning in preparation for an upcoming half-marathon in which she had committed to run. Her next conscious memory is… Read More

Running into Trouble

How do you tell a fit, healthy, athletic teenager they cannot play sport? You explain how they might die. “When I was 16 I got diagnosed with a heart condition, called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy [HCM]. It’s a genetic disorder, and they told me I couldn’t play any competitive sports,” Paula said carefully. “They said there is a very minor chance of sudden death, well, it happens to—like—to one… Read More

A Nightmare For Thanksgiving?

What started as a normal Tuesday evening became a nightmare before the night was out. Kathie and her husband went to bed, watched bit of FoodNetwork TV and chatted about the day. Around 10:30 pm Scott woke to an odd sound. Kathie doesn’t snore, but she was making strange noises, and yet she appeared asleep. She did not seem conscious at all, and wasn't breathing. As a Flagstaff Sheriff’s deputy… Read More

Fillling My Own Cup First

It was exam time, a stressful period for teachers as well as students. Anne had survived the 50-minute commute and was in her second class of the morning when she died. She was sitting at her desk while the high school freshmen finished their tests. Her face hit the table top and a couple of alert students rushed over to stop Anne from falling off her chair. They could see she was not conscious… Read More

Not Ready to Be With God

Breakfast was spoiled early one Saturday morning. Loris, Mike’s wife, heard a strange sound and came looking for Mike. She had been getting ready for work, and was surprised to see her husband unconscious in his lounge chair with a cereal bowl beside him. Mike was not breathing, but there was no way Loris could do anything about it—despite knowing CPR. He’s 6’8” and over 250lbs, she’s only 5’1”… Read More