Spring Break Nearly Broke Her

April fools day is not the time to fool around with a heart attack. Not if you live out in the country. And not if you're a Grandmother. Alas, Patricia didn't realize she was suffering a complete blockage of her LAD artery. In men it's called a "widow maker". A few days before, Patricia's arms had felt sore. "Like I had been moving furniture!" she said. But she hadn't. She also felt a little out… Read More

This Movie Nearly Had a Bad Ending

My story begins on April 1, 2010. I had spent the day with my grandaughter. We had gone to the movies and out to lunch and had a nice day. That afternoon, right after my daughter left with my granddaughter, I started feeling dizzy and short of breath. I called my husband and told him I needed to see a doctor. He happened to be right around the corner and was there to pick me up in minutes. He… Read More

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