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Spotlight: Rebecca and Brian, Delaware

by Melissa B. on Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rebecca and Brian

My son Brian went into sudden cardiac arrest on May 2, 2010, at the age of 15. He was not an athlete, had no prior health issues and was seen  by his pediatrician only 2 weeks earlier for allergies. He walked down the street to a friend's house where there was a family picnic going on. Those who were there say that when he walked in, he simply stated "I can't see very well," and fell to the floor.

As one of his friends ran down the street to his dad's house, a party-goer immediately started CPR. She was a 70 year old retired nurse who had never used CPR outiside of a hospital setting before. When the EMTs arrived, they took over the chain of survival and transported Brian to Christiana Hospital. All in all, Brian received 93 minutes of CPR. That's longer than two loads of laundry and about as long as it takes to watch a movie.

Once Brian was stabilized, a CAT Scan was performed. We were certain that he would have some brain damage after 93 minutes with no oxygen, however the doctors informed us that there was no sign of a stroke and we would have to wait for Brian to wake up to see what lingering affects there may be. He was slowly lifted out of his sedation, and much to our astonishment and joy, he suffered no acute brain damage. We spent many months in the hospital due to other complications, but his heart was beating stronger every day.

While we may never know 100% why Brian went into cardiac arrest it was learned that he had Coxsackie B virus at the time, which can cause acute myocarditis. Because of that, the doctors chose to place an internal defibrillator into Brian's chest. He is now 18 years old and looking forward to college in the fall. We are certain that without immediate CPR, we would have a different story to tell.