Gone in a Heartbeat – Youth Heart Watch – The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (1 of 3)

Gone in a Heartbeat – Youth Heart Watch – The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (1 of 3)


>>GREG WENT TO A SMALL
CATHOLIC SCHOOL. SO HERE HE IS TENTH GRADER,
SIX-FOOT-TWO, 220 POUNDS. HE PLAYED 10 MINUTES OF THE
FIRST HALF AND REALLY HAD A GOOD GAME. AND ABOUT A MINUTE LATER, WE WERE
CALLED INTO THE LOCKER ROOM. AND WHEN I WALKED INTO THE
LOCKER ROOM HE WAS ON THE FLOOR, AND HE WASN’T MOVING
AND HIS EYES WERE CLOSED. AND I WENT OVER AND I KNELT DOWN
AND I GRABBED HIS HEAD, AND I TOOK HIS FACE IN MY
HANDS AND I SAID, “GREGORY,” I SAID, “YOU’RE NOT BREATHING. WHY AREN’T YOU BREATHING, GREG?” AND I’M GOING “BREATHE” AND THAT
MOMENT HIS EYES OPENED AND HIS MOUTH OPENED AND HE TRIED TO
GASP FOR A BREATH AND NOTHING HAPPENED, AND HE CLOSED HIS EYES,
CLOSED HIS MOUTH AND THAT WAS IT.>>WELL, IT WAS DURING FOOTBALL
SEASON SO I HAD GOTTEN UP EARLY AND I HAD GONE INTO EACH
OF THE CHILDREN’S ROOMS AND JUST LIGHTLY KISSED
THEM ON THE FOREHEAD, NOT TO WAKE THEM UP, AND I WENT
ABOUT MY BUSINESS. AND IT WAS PROBABLY ABOUT
ANOTHER HOUR OR SO AFTER THAT THAT I ASKED BRIELLE TO GO WAKE
HER BROTHER UP, AND SHE JUST CALLED FOR ME
AND SHE SAID THAT THERE WAS SOMETHING WRONG WITH NICK. AND I JUST GOT UP–NOT EXPECTING
TO SEE ANYTHING REALLY WRONG. I THOUGHT MAYBE SHE WAS PLAYING
OR JOKING AROUND. AND I WHEN I WENT UP TO HIM
AND SAW HIM, HE HAD ALREADY PASSED HE WAS
GONE.>>THE THOUGHT HAD BRIEFLY RUN
THROUGH MY MIND THAT IT WAS POSSIBLY OCCURRING THAT HE WAS,
YOU KNOW, GONE, BUT I DIDN’T WANT TO ACCEPT THAT. I COULDN’T ACCEPT IT AT THAT TIME. I WAS 11 YEARS OLD. YOU KNOW, YOU JUST DON’T THINK
THAT YOUR 9-YEAR-OLD BROTHER IS GOING TO BE TAKEN FROM YOU.>>I WASN’T HOME THAT NIGHT. I CALLED FROM A FRIENDS HOUSE
THAT I HAD STAYED OVER AND MY AUNT ANSWERED THE PHONE. AND THAT EARLY IN THE MORNING IT
WAS ODD TO ME AND ALL SHE KEPT SAYING WAS, “YOU GOT TO GET
HOME, YOU GOT TO GET HOME NOW.”>>I TOOK LOUIS TO–
ACTUALLY TO PLAY SOCCER. IT WAS A PRACTICE SESSION LIKE
ANY OTHER PRACTICE SESSION. AND I WAITED IN MY CAR LIKE
I DID EVERY OTHER TIME. AND WHAT HAD HAPPENED–TWO OF
HIS TEAMMATES CAME RUNNING OVER TO THE CAR TO TELL ME
THAT LOUIS COLLAPSED. THREE WEEKS PRIOR, LOUIS HAD
COMPLAINED ABOUT–WHEN HE WAS PRACTICING ONCE AGAIN THAT HE
HAD A TOUGH TIME BREATHING. SO I MADE AN APPOINTMENT
WITH HIS PEDIATRICIAN, AND HE WAS MISDIAGNOSED WITH
HAVING EXERCISE-INDUCED ASTHMA. HIS TEAMMATE WAS ON THE CELL
PHONE CALLING FOR HELP. AND WE GOT TAKEN
TO THE HOSPITAL, AND AT THAT POINT THEY WORKED ON
HIM AND THEN THE DOCTOR CAME TO ME WHILE I WAS IN THE WAITING
ROOM AND BASICALLY SAID THAT SHE APOLOGIZED,
BUT LOUIS DIDN’T MAKE IT.>>IT TOOK ME SIX YEARS
TO CHANGE HIS ROOM. BECAUSE I JUST WANTED
TO THINK THAT HE WAS AWAY. I FEEL HIS PRESENCE IN MY HOUSE,
AND SOMETIMES IT’S VERY DIFFICULT TO BE HOME. I CAN’T TELL YOU WHAT IT REALLY
FEELS LIKE TO LOSE A CHILD. AND I MISS GREGORY WITH EVERY
OUNCE OF MY BEING. AND I FEEL WHEN WE DIED,
YOU KNOW, A PART OF ME DIED AS WELL. AND I OFTEN THINK THAT MY HEART
IS HELD TOGETHER WITH THREADS.>>SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST
IS THE, AS STATED, SUDDEN AND UNEXPECTED
STOPPING OF THE HEART. THE HEART, INSTEAD OF BEATING IN
AN EFFECTIVE MANNER AND PUMPING BLOOD AND NUTRIENTS TO
THE BODY, BEGINS TO QUIVER AND DOES NOT PROVIDE
AN EFFECTIVE BLOOD FLOW. SO IF THAT IS NOT CORRECTED,
WITHIN FIVE TO SIX MINUTES THE ORGANS IN THE BODY WILL
DIE AND THE INDIVIDUAL DIES.>>IT’S HARD TO KNOW WHEN
A SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST WILL OCCUR. SOMETIMES THERE ARE WARNING
SIGNS–SHORTNESS OF BREATH, EXERCISE INTOLERANCE,
HAVING TROUBLE WITH SPORTS. BUT THEY CAN ALSO HAPPEN
OUT OF THE BLUE. IT CAN BE A PERFECTLY HEALTHY
CHILD WHO SUDDENLY COLLAPSES. CHILDREN CAN HAVE AN UNDERLYING
PROBLEM OF HEART RHYTHM LIKE A LONG QT SYNDROME, WHICH CAN
RESULT IN AN ARRHYTHMIA LEADING TO SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST. AND SOMETIMES CHILDREN CAN BE EXPOSED TO DRUGS OR TO CONDITIONS LIKE AN
ELECTRIC SHOCK WHICH CAN LEAD TO AN ARREST.>>I’VE MET SO MANY DIFFERENT
PARENTS THAT, I THINK, THE HARDEST THING IS MEETING THE
PARENTS THAT DON’T KNOW WHY THEIR CHILD DIED. THAT THERE WASN’T AN AUTOPSY
DONE OR THE CORNER OR THE MEDICAL EXAMINER DID
NOT COME UP WITH A CAUSE OF DEATH, AND I THINK THAT’S THE
HARDEST THING FOR THE PARENTS TO ACCEPT BECAUSE THEY
DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.>>SUDDEN DEATH IN KIDS IS
NOT A TOPIC THAT ANYONE WANTS TO DISCUSS. NO ONE EVER BELIEVES IT’S
GOING TO HAPPEN TO THEM. AND I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT–WHAT
WE DO IS WE EXPLAIN THAT LOUIS WAS JUST A NORMAL KID,
DOING A NORMAL THING, AND SOMETHING TRAGIC DID HAPPEN. BUT, AS A RESULT, THERE ARE
THINGS THAT WE CAN DO TO PREVENT THESE TRAGEDIES FROM
OCCURRING AGAIN.>>ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS I
READ WAS THAT FAMILY HISTORY WAS SO CRUCIAL IN A CASE WHERE
SOMEONE DIES UNDER THE AGE OF 50 SUDDENLY. SO ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS I HAD
DONE TWO WEEKS AFTER LOUIS PASSED IS I TOOK MY SON,
WHO AT THE TIME WAS 6, TO THE PEDIATRICIAN. AND MUCH TO MY SURPRISE THE
ECHOCARDIOGRAM AND THE EKG CAME BACK WITH A DISORDER FOR MY SON. HE IS MONITORED NOW. IT IS VERY FRIGHTENING
THAT WE FOUND THIS, ALTHOUGH I DO CONSIDER IT
A BLESSING BECAUSE WE WOULD HAVE NEVER CHECKED,
HAD WE NOT LOST LOUIS. WE BELIEVE THAT FAMILY
HISTORY AND THE KNOWLEDGE THAT WHEN YOU LOSE SOMEONE
VERY YOUNG TO SUDDEN DEATH, THE WHOLE FAMILY SHOULD
BE SCREENED.>>AN AED IS AN AUTOMATED
EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATOR. IT IS A COMPUTERIZED SYSTEM THAT
CAN DELIVER AN ELECTRIC SHOCK TO THE HEART TO JUMP-START OR TO
REINITIATE A NORMAL HEARTBEAT.>>AED’S ARE REALLY COACHES. THEY’RE SMART SHOCK BOXES. YOU WOULD CALL 9-1-1. YOU WOULD START CHEST
COMPRESSIONS AND LISTEN FOR INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE PERSON
DIRECTING YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE SENDING SOMEONE TO GET
THAT LIFE-SAVING AED.>>INITIALLY, THE FIRST
INSTRUCTION IT GIVES YOU IS TO START CPR AND THEN
IT WILL CHECK THE RHYTHM AND THEN IT WILL SHOCK. THEN IT WILL REASSESS. THEN IT WILL TELL YOU IF YOU
NEED TO RESTART CPR AND START THE CYCLE AGAIN OR NOT.>>THE USE OF THE UNIT
IS REALLY VERY EASY. ONCE PEOPLE PRACTICE ON THEM
WITH THE TRAINERS THAT WE HAVE, THE PRACTICE TRAINERS,
AND THEY SEE HOW SIMPLE IT IS, THE LEVEL OF ANXIETY GOES DOWN. THE FEELING THAT “YOU KNOW WHAT? I CAN DO THIS. I COULD HELP SOMEBODY
WITH THIS UNIT.”>>YOU CAN BUILD ANYBODY’S
AWARENESS. YOU KNOW, THERE’S VALUE
ADDED IN IT. I MEAN, HAD WE BEEN MORE AWARE,
IF WE KNEW SOME OF THE, YOU KNOW, SOME OF THE SYMPTOMS
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN GREAT. YOU KNOW, WOULD THE OUTCOME
HAVE CHANGED? I DON’T KNOW, YOU KNOW,
SOMETIMES YOU LEARN TO BELIEVE THAT REGARDLESS OF, YOU KNOW,
DEPENDING ON YOUR FAITH, IT’S GOING TO BE WHAT
IT’S GOING TO BE. BUT I’D LIKE TO BELIEVE THAT THE
MORE YOU CAN MAKE PEOPLE AWARE AND YOU CAN AVOID THE TRAGEDIES
THAT WE HAD TO DEAL WITH.>>I GOT A PHONE CALL FROM
NICOLE TELLING ME THAT SHE GOT TO THE POOL OKAY, AND SHE SAID
THAT THEY WERE GOING TO EAT, AND SHE WAS GOING TO GO
INTO THE POOL. ABOUT A HALF-HOUR LATER, I GOT A
PHONE CALL FROM ONE OF THE MOMS ASKING ME “HAS NICOLE EVER
PASSED OUT BEFORE?” AND I SAID, “NO, WHY?” AND THEN THE PHONE WENT SILENT. AND IT SEEMED LIKE IT WAS ABOUT
A HALF-HOUR BEFORE I ACTUALLY HEARD SOMETHING,
BUT IT WAS MUCH QUICKER. I HEARD THEM IN THE BACKGROUND
SAYING THAT, “SHE HAS A PULSE.” AND I SAID, “WHAT? WHAT DO YOU MEAN
SHE HAS A PULSE?” THEY SAID, “YOU NEED TO COME OVER
TO THE SWIM CLUB RIGHT AWAY.”>>I LOOK AT MY FACULTY AND I
LOOK AT THE STUDENTS AND I LOOK AT MY PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS
THAT COME INTO MY SCHOOL AND I HAVE A SENSE OF–I GUESS,
SECURITY THAT I KNOW THAT IF I HAVE SOMEONE IN MY BUILDING,
I FEEL I CAN DO SOMETHING TO HELP THEM IF SOMETHING WERE
TO HAPPEN IN MY BUILDING.>>PERSONALLY, THIS IS MY
PERSONAL FEELING, I THINK THEY SHOULD BE IN EVERY
SCHOOL BUILDING. I DON’T NEED ANY CONVINCING. AND IT’S SUCH A SMALL PRICE TO
PAY FOR AN INSURANCE POLICY, SUCH A SMALL PRICE TO PAY.>>WE DECIDED TO DEVELOP A
PROGRAM AT THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA CALLED
“YOUTH HEART WATCH.” WE WERE INTERESTED IN FINDING
INDIVIDUALS WHO MIGHT BE AT RISK FOR SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST AND
PROTECTING THEM IF THEY DID HAVE A SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST. SO WE WERE LITERALLY WATCHING
THE HEARTS OF THE YOUNG.>>WELL, YOUTH HEART WATCH
GIVES US HOPE. YOUTH HEART WATCH IS ABOUT
TAKING CARE OF THE ONES WE LOVE. IT’S ABOUT BEING PREPARED FOR THE
WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN– CARDIAC ARREST. IT’S ABOUT GIVING US CONFIDENCE
THAT WE CAN DO THE RIGHT THING.>>YOUTH HEART WATCH IS A
COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAM WITH MANY PARTS, BUT ONE SIMPLE,
VERY IMPORTANT GOAL– TO SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE
SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST AND DEATH AMONG CHILDREN. WE AIM TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERY
SCHOOL IN PENNSYLVANIA, NEW JERSEY, AND DELAWARE HAS
AED’S AND STAFF TRAINED TO USE THEM AND PERFORM CPR. WE’LL HELP YOU FIND WAYS TO RAISE
THE MONEY TO PURCHASE AED’S. WE’LL HELP YOU START CPR
AND AED TRAINING PROGRAMS. WE’LL HELP YOU RUN DRILLS AND
LEARN HOW TO KEEP YOUR PROGRAMS AND EQUIPMENT UP TO DATE. AT YOUTH HEART WATCH ONE OF OUR
MOST IMPORTANT GOALS IS TO RAISE AWARENESS OF RISK FACTORS AND
SYMPTOMS OF SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST. WE HAVE STARTED
TO PERFORM SCREENINGS WITH ELECTROCARDIOGRAMS
IN LOCAL COMMUNITIES. AT EVERY SCREENING WE FIND
CHILDREN WITH UNDIAGNOSED HEART CONDITIONS, SOME AT RISK FOR
SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST. JOIN YOUTH HEART WATCH. TOGETHER WE CAN TAKE STEPS NOW
THAT CAN MEAN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH FOR ONE
OF YOUR STUDENTS.>>WITH CPR AND READY
AVAILABILITY OF AN AED, ONE CAN QUADRUPLE SURVIVAL
FROM SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST IN THE COMMUNITY.

2 Replies to “Gone in a Heartbeat – Youth Heart Watch – The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (1 of 3)”

  1. This happened to my son on April 9, 2011 at the age of 25. We are still waiting for a full report from the coroner, but his doctor has already told us what happened. My other son as well as his half brother are in the process of being evaluated. Both echo's have shown their hearts are on the upper side of normal. We will be start genetic testing soon. In looking in his dads family, . their is several issues we now see. Knowledge is power…..and this is now my purpose in life.

  2. i just graduated from the council rock school district last year its crazy to think this stuff happens so close to home

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *