Karen Etheridge

Age: 40
Save Date: 9/1995
Activity: At casino
My sudden cardiac arrest took place on September 1995, at age 40. My husband and I had been at a casino in Vicksburg, Mississippi for several hours that evening. We were about to head home when I jumped up, put my hand to my chest, and fell to the floor. I was experiencing ventricular fibrillation. Earlier that year, my heart problems had been misdiagnosed. Security called 9-1-1 and my husband (and others) gave me CPR. An ambulance and the Vicksburg Fire Department paramedics arrived within approximately four minutes. Paramedic Lott Hall began resuscitation efforts using standard defibrillator paddles. I was transported to the local hospital where further defibrillation was necessary to eventually maintain a heart beat and respiration. Several days later I was transported to a Jackson hospital where cardiac catherization revealed four major blockages of my coronary arteries. Due to the serious nature of my condition, a decision was made to have bypass surgery done at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. On October 5, 1995, quadruple coronary artery bypass graft surgery was successfully performed. Twelve days later, I received an automated implantable cardioverter defibrillator (AICD). After being hospitalized for nearly one month, I was discharged and went home. It has been 10 years since those events, and I am doing well. All the links in the chain of survival were present for me, which is why I am one of the fortunate few who have survived sudden cardiac arrest.

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