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Cardiac arrest is “one of the most lethal public health problems in the United States, claiming more lives than colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, influenza, pneumonia, auto accidents, HIV, firearms, and house fires combined. In many cases… cardiac arrest victims have ‘hearts too good to die.”
On May 3rd, 2020, after a seemingly normal day quarantining at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Julieta suffered a sudden cardiac arrest while working out with her sister upstairs. Her mother and sister had to watch as EMS responders unceasingly worked to bring her back, until they finally did about 23 minutes later. Her father and brother felt helpless as they received the news while in another country. Julieta’s fight for her life did not end there, as more complications came by once she arrived at the hospital.
What We Do
What is SCA?
As the leading cause of natural deaths in the United States and the #1 cause of death among student-athletes, it is of utmost importance that people are aware of what sudden cardiac arrest really is.
There are certain conditions or habits that can increase a person’s chances of suffering a sudden cardiac arrest. Knowing what these are may help someone who lives with any of these conditions find ways in which they can prevent a sudden cardiac arrest from occurring.
Many people present symptoms a couple of weeks or days prior to a sudden cardiac arrest. Acknowledging such symptoms and knowing what they suggest is key to surviving a possible cardiac arrest.
What It Looks Like
Sudden cardiac arrests are not always silent episodes. It is common that those experiencing such event imitate the reaction of someone having a seizure. Recognizing that this is a common response to a sudden cardiac arrest is crucial to proceeding appropriately.
Steps to Save a Life
So many people tend to hesitate to call 911 in cases of emergencies, especially when they do not know what is going on and the gravity of the matter. However, it is crucial that 911 is called immediately after witnessing an event, as they can guide you through stressful situations.
If you see someone who needs help, even if you are not sure if their heart has stopped, always perform CPR. No CPR is bad CPR. Performing chest compressions does not only increase the chances of survival, but it also decreases the chances of a person developing cognitive issues.
During a sudden cardiac arrest, CPR is used to perform the heart’s function by manually helping it irrigate blood and oxygenate the brain. However, AEDs help shock the heart so that it restarts its operation. They are the best and most user-friendly tool that saves a life.
Good Samaritan Law
In the US, there is a law that helps defend good samaritans who step in to help others in need. The risk of being sued for doing a good deed and providing aid to someone in need will be totally eliminated. There is no need to be hesitant and not take action.
“Anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you”
With the intent to give hope to the small percentage of those who have recently survived a sudden cardiac arrest or the family members of those who have experienced such, we showcase the stories of those who have suffered from one and are now continuing on with their lives. Our goal is that, through sharing their stories, we will give hope to those who are in the beginning stages of recovery and their family members and show them that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“What is lovely never dies, but passes into other loveliness”
-Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Because the survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest is so incredibly low, there are more people who do not live to tell their story than those who do. We do not want to downplay the matter by only sharing the story of the small percentage of survivors. Most family members of those who tragically passed away from sudden cardiac arrest make it their life’s purpose to share their stories and raise awareness to prevent what happened to them from happening to anyone else. While these interviews are hard to watch, they are extremely important to showcase the gravity of the matter and incite change in our society.