Five survivors of sudden cardiac arrest were honored today at Parkville's Station 10 including a 14-year-old Perry Hall High School student who suddenly collapsed after scoring the winning goal during a field hockey game in Catonsville in September.
The yearly event during national CPR/AED Awareness Week honors heart attack victims and the first responders who helped to save their lives.
In late September, 14-year-old Breanna Sudano was playing field hockey for the Perry Hall Gators in an away game against Catonsville High School. The game went to overtime, tied 1-1 after Breanna scored a goal for her team—she then scored the game-winning goal in overtime, walked to the sideline and collapsed.
Perry Hall varsity field hockey coach Chastin Faith and Catonsville JV coach Christine Ehrlichmann recognized the girl had gone into cardiac arrest and began CPR. Three Catonsville moms and registered nurses, Shelley Hunt, Melissa Law and Beth Beautz, came out of the stands to assist until EMTs arrived and stabilized the girl with a defibrillator.
She was taken to St. Agnes hospital and then to University of Maryland Medical Center where a team led by Dr. Peter Gaskin was able to correct a congenital defect that caused the girl's heart attack.
Sudano, a Maryland lacrosse fan, was just recently cleared to play sports again; she was recognized by the county for her efforts to raise funds for CPR training through her American Heart Association called "Bre Strong".
Back in November, Baltimore County police officer and Arbutus volunteer firefighter Scott Miller went for a run at UMBC and collapsed. Two quick-thinking students, Antigone Rashawn Cox and Christopher Tingley sprang into action. Cox immediately called 911 while Tingley, an Emergency Health Services student and Howard County Volunteer EMT, began performing CPR.
Theissen was working at the Baltimore County Animal Shelter, where she's an animal attendant, when she went into sudden cardiac arrest. The 70-year-old Bel Air resident had been cleaning cat cages when she said "oh my" and suddenly collapsed, as first reported by Cockeysville Patch.
A co-worker and former EMT, Mary Tress, performed CPR on Theissen for nearly 7 minutes, helping to save her life.
While she was with her children in her Fork home, Lisa Payne started to have chest pain; not wanting to upset her children, she took an aspirin and walked them to a neighbor's house before calling 911.
Paramedic Kellie Cooke and EMT Josh Cooke immediately began resuscitation efforts and Payne was eventually stabilized thanks to their efforts and those of hospital staff.
"It is important to note that Ms. Payne did not ignore her symptoms but took the appropriate action that resulted in her being with us today," said fire department spokesman Kyrle Preis III.
More than 20 years ago, Magnani had a heart attack after a workout at Towson's Merritt Athletic Club—he was at the event today to recognize the woman who saved his life, a 911 operator named Tammy Price.
Magnani used a radio phone in his car to call 911 and Price, at the time a new 911 operator, answered the phone. Magnani couldn't tell her where he was, only that he had just left his gym and saw a Provident Bank sign.
Thinking fast, Price used the Yellow Pages to find gyms and Provident bank locations in Towson; discerning Magnani's probable location and dispatching medics who arrived shortly before he went into cardiac arrest.
A Leading Killer
Speaking to a group of survivors and first responders, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz stressed that the leading cause of death for Americans is not cancer, not car accidents, not infectious disease, but cardiac arrest.
"It really can happen to anyone," Kamenetz said. "Someone leaving the gym... somone working for the county animal shelther... a police officer and volunteer firefighter jogging one day ... even someone with no history of heart problems; even a 14-year-old high school student after scoring the winning goal in a field hockey game."
But, he said you can survive a heart attack thanks to technology.
"Technology has advanced far enough that treatment for a heart attack can be administered by anyone, even me," Kamenetz said.
He explained that automated external defibrillators are designed to be used by anyone. Through a partnership with Cardiac Science, Baltimore County is putting defibrillators into schools, county office buildings, and businesses.
"The bottom line is that it increases the chances of survival," he said.
"The men and women who are here who have saved those survivors really just woke up as ordinary citizens, but thanks to their hard work and committment, they went to bed as heroes."