Quick Action and CPR Saves Local Teen After Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Stanford’s Revive Initiative for Resuscitation Excellence Celebrates First Responders Who Helped Save Teen’s Life
First responders involved in resuscitating a teenage girl and transporting her to Stanford’s Emergency Department following her sudden cardiac arrest in June, were honored at a ceremony on September 26.

According to doctors the rapid resuscitation efforts were the key to her full recovery.

This week at Menlo Swim and Sport’s Burgess Pool, members of Stanford’s Revive Initiative for Resuscitation Excellence presented recognition awards to 18 first responders who contributed to the resuscitation of a local teen on June 28, 2019. Menlo Park’s mayor, Ray Mueller, participated in the event and thanked the entire Menlo Park community.

The collective efforts of the bystanders and first-responders who resuscitated the teen and transported her to the Stanford Emergency Department are described in a feature story on stanfordchildrens.org . It all started with a swim meet on an otherwise ordinary Friday afternoon.

Like typical parents, Mark and Holly cannot imagine life without their active teenage daughter. Yet on June 28, they came face to face with that distinct possibility. Swimming competitively since the age of 9, their 14-year-old daughter had just finished two laps of her favorite stroke, the backstroke, winning the heat in a pre-season meet at Menlo Swim & Sport. At the edge of the pool, she took off her goggles. Then, without warning, she lost consciousness and slipped under the water, following a sudden cardiac arrest.

The life-saving CPR that was administered by bystanders, including a Stanford Children’s Health physician who happened to be onsite and first-responders, is credited as the key to her ability to recover from an event that could have been fatal.

“We are forever thankful and grateful for everyone’s help and assistance in what we recognize is a truly remarkable result, given our daughter’s cardiac arrest in the Burgess Park pool on June 28.”
– Parents of Menlo Park teenager

The importance of CPR education is at the root of the Revive program, their efforts are dedicated to training healthcare professionals and emergency response teams at Stanford and throughout the wider community.

Revive’s mission is aligned with the American Heart Association’s to have millions trained in CPR especially bystanders who most frequently will be the first to witness these events that occur outside the hospital. The chance of survival diminishes by 10 percent for every minute that goes by without CPR, so beginning CPR right away, as in this case, saves lives.

Following the extraordinary actions that saved her life that day at the pool and in the emergency department, she spent several days in intensive care. The underlying cause of the cardiac arrest was identified as an inherited heart rhythm abnormality that develops into life-threatening arrhythmia, which can lead to sudden death. To manage the condition she received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), which helps regulate a heartbeat when it’s too fast or too slow.

It’s hard for many of us to imagine such an abrupt turning point in life, especially at such a young age. But as we often see with young patients, this teen is eager to move forward with her life and is doing so with resilient optimism.

Although she won’t be able to swim competitively due to the associated risks, she is already thinking of taking up archery or golf. In her first year of high school, she is continuing as a middle school junior swim coach, a role she also held last year, and she is also a swim instructor at the Burgess Park pool. Barely three months after her cardiac arrest, she’s able return to living her life.

Note: The patient asked that her name not be included in the story.

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