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Rock Rocklage Rosemount, MN

When the helicopter arrived they refused to transport me stating; "We don't transport dead people."

My cardiac event occurred at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, September 22, 2007.  I was driving to a client's house for a listing appointment in Apple Valley, MN, travelling about 50 m.p.h. when I suffered a Cardiac Arrest and hit an oncoming car head on.  Thankfully no one in the oncoming car was seriously injured, but it is estimated that I was without oxygen for about 18 minutes.  I had OnStar in my car and that initiated the emergency responders.  They had to shock my heart three times in order for it to begin beating.  In the meantime a helicopter arrived, but refused to transport me stating "We don't transport dead people."  Eventually I was rushed to a hospital, but they weren't equipped to treat patients like me, so they rushed me to a trauma center.  I was in a coma for about a week during which time my family was told to start making alternative plans.  I remained at the hospital for five weeks, not remembering anything.  After months of intensive rehab my health began to get better.  In the intermittent time I have undergone a quadruple bypass, had stents put in and also had a defibrillator installed.  At the present time I am quite healthy and very grateful for everyone who had anything to do with my recovery.

Dr. Sohah Iqbal is the current president of the American Heart Association Young Professionals, an Interventional Cardiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, and a staunch advocate for CPR education in our city's high schools.

Dr. Iqbal poignantly shares the story of two of her own patients who both presented with a cardiac arrest at their gyms. Both were under that age of 50, both were generally active but mildly overweight. Neither patient smoked nor saw a doctor regularly. Both were brought to the hospital by EMTs where Dr Iqbal was able to open up the blocked arteries to stop the damage to the heart. However, this is where the similarities stopped. One of the patients left the hospital alive a few weeks later and the other never woke up from the coma after his cardiac arrest, even though his heart was fixed. The difference is that the patient that lived had CPR initiated right away by another person working out at the gym while the other did not. He had to wait until EMTa arrived to start CPR, and by then it was too late.

Dr. Iqbal loves her job but the hardest thing is knowing the most crucial minutes happen before she ever sees the patient. Knowing that more New Yorkers need to learn how to do CPR so she can save more lives as a cardiologist, she is asking Commissioner John King of the NY State Education Department to recommend this curriculum standard for every high school across the state!

Photo: Dr. Iqbal at the Statehouse in Albany for the AHA's CPR Rally (June 2014).

 

 

Congratulations to Dr. Marc Kutler and The Edge fitness facilities for yet another life saved!

Dr. Marc Kutler, an emergency department physician from Northwestern Medical Center, is a strong advocate for CPR and public access to defibrillation. He helped the AHA pass legislation two years ago requiring hands-only CPR and the use of an AED to be taught as part of comprehensive health education in Vermont schools.

And, if that wasn't enough, he also helped start and oversees an AED program at The Edge fitness centers in Essex and Williston. Thanks to this great program, Marc and The Edge had previously saved the lives of 5 cardiac arrest victims. And just this past week, they added one more life saved when a 69 year old woman collapsed from a cardiac arrest and they sprang to action.

Thanks to Marc's advocacy for a strong chain of survival at schools and businesses, lives are being saved!

Malenda McCalister Kentucky

On September 18th, more than 300 advocates from over 100 organizations gathered on Capitol Hill to rally in support of ongoing funding for medical research, and You're the Cure advocate and heart disease survivor, Malenda McCalister, was excited to be among them.

In October 2008, at just 30-years-old, Malenda's life changed forever as she collapsed on the living room floor after giving birth to her son just 10 days earlier. She was rushed to the hospital cath lab where they  discovered she had suffered from a spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD). She had a triple bypass and two stents placed, followed by 2 pacemaker/defibrillator surgeries and a lead revision surgery.

Today, Malenda (at right with singer/actress and congenital heart defect survivor, Laura Bell Bundy) is doing well, raising her two children alongside her husband, Jack, and speaking out wherever she can to raise awareness of SCAD and the need to listen to your body when you know something doesn't feel quite right. She was happy to share her story with her lawmakers on Capitol Hill to illustrate the need to adequately fund the type of research that ultimately saved her life.

Thank you Malenda, for taking time away from your family to share your story with lawmakers on Capitol Hill!

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