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Be Prepared to Save a Life


I was working on a bone and joint blog–my area of expertise–when I saw Sara Cornell’s story on 1010ParkPlace about her heart attack. So, I put on my generalist cap, and more importantly my mommy cap, and remembered that this month is the 10 year anniversary of my son’s sudden cardiac arrest on a football field in College Station, Texas. There was nothing we could have done to prevent it, just as there was nothing Sara could have done to prevent her heart attack. Fortunately Sara didn’t go into sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a deadly situation in which the heart stops pumping blood.

But that’s exactly what happened to my son.

There was no underlying heart condition. He has a problem which is poorly understood, and almost universally fatal… except for one thing: Preparedness. My husband and I ran down onto the field, started CPR and defibrillated our son, and he is now 10 years older.

Once the heart stops pumping blood, there is a window of about three minutes before brain cell destruction begins. Immediately the cells of the heart and other vital organs begin a process of degradation, and at some point, even defibrillation may not work.

No matter how far away a defibrillator might be, the body needs oxygen. Each precious minute without oxygen decreases the likelihood of survival and increases the likelihood of brain damage.

Learn CPR. Learn to recognize Sudden Cardiac Arrest and be prepared to start CPR. Do not fear CPR. The American Heart Association has a kit called CPR Anytime. Order it. Have a family meeting and in 30 minutes, everyone will know how to do CPR. There’s a course for infants too. If all of the 1010ParkPlace readers learn CPR, I promise lives will be saved. It might be your own child’s life.

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Dr. Barbara Bergin is a board certified Orthopedic Surgeon who has been taking care of the bones and joints of Austin, Texas, for over 30 years. She prefers prevention to treatment and takes a natural approach to both when possible. By informing her readers and patients through 1010ParkPlace and her blog,, she wants to prevent 100,000 injuries before she retires.

4 thoughts on “Be Prepared to Save a Life”

  1. Barbara,
    My husband died of SCA while out for a walk, six years ago this Christmas Day. None of us saw that coming, and since he was alone on his walk, there was no opportunity to do CPR. It came out of nowhere. We should all know CPR. I’m grateful you’ve done this post. Thank you, Brenda

  2. Thanks for the reminder, Brenda! It’s been way too long since I was certified. Time for a refresher course! I have grandbabies around now, which makes this even more important.

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