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Advocate Children’s Hospital heart nurse saves life at restaurant

Saturday October 5, 2013
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A 16-year-old male teenager’s heart suddenly stopped beating and he stopped breathing while dining July 7 with his family in the outdoor area of an Orland Park, Ill., restaurant.

Sarah Kane, RN, a nurse practitioner in pediatric heart surgery at Advocate Children’s Hospital-Oak Lawn (Ill.), and her fiance — a physician — just happened to be dining at the same time as the teen’s family.

“When I reached [the teen], he was on the ground, had no pulse and was not breathing,” Kane said in a news release. “I immediately started CPR. My fiance assisted with chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.”

Without a portable automated external defibrillator nearby, the couple manually worked on the young man for about 10 minutes, keeping him alive until paramedics arrived. “At one point, he began breathing on his own, but then quickly lapsed again into [cardiac] defibrillation,” Kane said in the release.

The teen, who lives with his parents in Midlothian, Ill., suffers from a rare cardiac condition — arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia. The disorder causes heart muscle to slowly change into fatty tissue and to scar, forcing the heart to pump less efficiently and making it prone to abnormal rhythms, his attending pediatric cardiologist, Ira Shetty, MD, an Advocate Medical Group physician at Advocate Children’s Hospital-Oak Lawn, said in the release.

“Without Sarah, [the teen] would not have survived,” Shetty said in the release.

It required two shocks from the automated external defibrillator brought by paramedics to restore the teen’s heartbeat and pulse. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, stabilized and then transferred to the pediatric surgical heart unit at Advocate Children’s Hospital-Oak Lawn, where Kane already had notified the pediatric cardiology team to anticipate his arrival.

Kane later learned the young man whom she and her fiance had urgently worked to save was alive and talking in the Advocate Children’s Hospital heart unit.

Since then, according to the release, Kane has kiddingly told [the teen] he owes her a chicken sandwich. Neither she nor her fiance ever finished their restaurant meals.


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