Mark Storace, Sr.
When working from home I share office space with my wife who owns her own business. In our Home, the office sits in the front of the house on the second level across from bedrooms and our exercise room. My wife had been in the office all day and continued to work after I had completed my day. After my last meeting, around 5:00 pm, I shut done the computer and headed into the bedroom to change my clothes for my regular exercise routine. I passed by the office on my way to the exercise room and started my warm up routine. After getting on the treadmill and starting my warm up walk, BAM! That was the last thing I remember. No pain, no warning, nothing. I went down hard on the treadmill.
Hearing a loud thud from her office, my wife ran into the exercise room to find me face down on the treadmill with it still running because I did not have the safety line attached. (Everyone should use the Safety Line!). Not sure what happened, my wife attempted to get my attention, I was unresponsive. She attempted to pull me off the treadmill, but her slight build against my dead weight was too much to move. She noticed that I had stopped breathing and immediately picked up the phone and dialed 911. The 911 Operator helped my wife determine my condition while she dispatched emergency response. My wife was able to turn off the treadmill and get my face away from the deck. Still unable to turn me over, my wife remained calm while working with the 911 operator.
As luck would have it, the city had recently built a brand new fire station about a mile from my house. The Fire and Rescue team arrived at our house about four minutes after the 911 call was placed. My wife met the team at the front door and told them where I was and that I was not breathing. Scrambling up the stairs, two very large fireman pulled me off of the treadmill. Realizing I was not breathing and had no pulse, they began administering CPR and relaying vitals to the hospital over the radio. After a couple of minutes of CPR, another Fireman arrived with the defibrillator, they had everyone leave the room and began to defibrillate me. Once, twice, then a third time before getting a rhythm.
They packed up, put me on a stretcher and got me into the ambulance. The trip to the closest hospital is about 10 minutes at best. On the way to the hospital, my heart stopped two more time and both times I required defibrillation. Once at the hospital, I was in pretty bad shape. I was on life support for two days as they worked to figure out what had happened. Once they felt I was stable enough to move, they transported me to Mercy Hospital in Sacramento who has a state-of-the-art cardiac program. They brought in an electrophysiologist who immediately determined that due to my arrhythmia, I had experienced sudden cardiac arrest. They scheduled me for an angiogram which concluded I had no blockages or heart damage. (I had an angiogram two years earlier with the same results).
On the fifth day, I began to emerge from the semi comatose state, completely unaware of what happened, where I was or how I got there. My wife began to tell me what had happened. It was like someone was reading me a story. Over the next couple of days, they placed the ICD in my chest and made sure I was stable. On the 8th day after the arrest, I was released and sent home.
Today, I still have about two weeks in my memory that seems to be lost, but I am back on the treadmill and running two miles three to four times per week. I feel pretty good and have had no issues with my ICD. I am sure that had I been driving home from work or even in my cubicle at work, the outcome would be extremely different. My Company has AED's on the premises, the problem is they would have to have found me quickly and in a large cubicle farm, nobody may have found me for quite a while.
I am extremely thankful to my wife, the fire and rescue team, and the defibrillator. I am now starting a chapter of SCAA (Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association) in Sacramento and looking to help get the message out about AED's, CPR, and general awareness about sudden cardiac arrest.
On August 7, 2007, sudden cardiac arrest changed Mark Storace's life forever. After defying the odds with his survival, Storace was able to give thanks to each heroic individual who assisted in his amazing save on October 28, 2008 .
For more details about Mark Storace's save, click here.