During a meeting at work in May 2004, Mary deeply exhaled, over-gripped her pen and then her head hit the table. She had suffered Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
Two co-workers immediately called 911. One of her co-workers went to get another co-worker who is also a nurse and they started CPR. Meanwhile, another co-worker ran down to the 2nd floor to get the AED. The organization’s AED team heard the alarm as the AED was pulled off the wall and ran with her back to the 3rd floor.
Mary was revived with two shocks from the AED, within three to four minutes of her arrest. West Des Moines EMS arrived within four minutes and took over her care. They then transported Mary to Mercy Medical Center—Des Moines where it was determined that she was a candidate for an implantable defibrillator.
John is 38 in real life, but just six in his new life as an SCA survivor. He was born in Barberton, OH in 1967 with a congenital heart defect called Tetrology of Falot. It is a condition where four parts of the heart are affected and is treated with open heart surgery. At the age of three months, he had a Blalock Shunt and his first open heart surgery at four.
Growing up was a little bit of a challenge for John because he couldn't keep up with the other kids and he couldn't play contact sports; however, his parents pretty much let him live his life without restrictions.
At the age of 23 while working out at the gym, John felt his heart racing. After much debate, he went to Mercy Medical Center — Des Moines. To his surprise, his nurse issued a code blue while he was sitting up and talking to her. His heart was beating at 260 beats per minute and he had sustained this for several hours before arriving at Mercy.