Anne Efron, Maryland
Following a long day at work Anne Efron and her husband Dave were getting set to grill for dinner. After making a quick trip to the store Dave returned to find Anne unconscious and without a pulse, in full cardiac arrest. She had a history of what had been diagnosed as benign cardiac dysrhythmia. David, who is Director of Adult Trauma, and Chief of the Division of Acute Care Surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, immediately began CPR and dialed 911. One of the questions that rang in his mind was this: how long had her brain and other organs been without oxygen before he arrived?
David continued performing CPR until EMS arrived about 10 minutes later and took over. Only after transport to St. Joseph’s in Towson, the closest facility, and eight attempts at “shocking” did Anne’s heart resume “normal rhythm.” Her heart was badly stunned and her condition continued to worsen. Her medical team determined that the care Anne needed to survive was beyond the scope of St. Josephs. To stabilize her enough to make the trip, the Interventional Cardiologist at St. Joe’s skillfully placed a balloon pump in her heart.
Once arriving at John’s Hopkins, Anne spent sixteen days in the Coronary Care Unit. After the extraordinary care of the first responders, the care she received at St. Joe’s and the cutting-edge mechanical support techniques and critical medical care she received in one of the top hospitals in the world, she was able to walk out of the hospital and returned to work just five weeks after her cardiac arrest.
Anne got involved with the American Heart Association’s You’re the Cure grassroots network, and advocated actively for a Maryland Bill which would make CPR and defibrillator training a graduation requirement in Maryland public high school. That bill became law in 2014. Anne states “CPR is a simple lifesaving skill and one that gives those with this skill a “sense of empowerment. Learning CPR will save many lives.”
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<Thanks to YTC advocate/volunteer writer Karen Wiggins, LPN, CHWC, for helping craft this story>