Claire Crawford, 17, is the girl in the video, the one whose heart suddenly stops.
“I feel nauseous watching it, because it’s very scary,” describes Crawford.
It happened last October, on senior’s night during a volleyball match in Loganville Christian Academy’s gym.
Claire’s parents Eric and Lisa had set up a video camera across the gym.
“I had just served, and then I’d set, set the ball up. And then I moved back and I just remember feeling like I was about to pass out,” recalls Crawford
Claire grabs her chest, and then hits the floor, in full cardiac arrest.
With the camera still recording, Claire is quickly surrounded. Terrified is how Julie Sirmans, the lower school academic dean at the school, remembers the experience.
“You’re very nervous. You’re not sure what to do. You’re not sure what you’re seeing,” says Sirmans.
Sirmans, a school administrator and member of Loganville Christian’s “Code Blue” team — trained in CPR by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s — sprang into action, helped by an athletic trainer and parent who also knew CPR.
“She wasn’t breathing. We couldn’t find a pulse,” recollects Sirmans.
“She did not look like there was any life to her. And at that point I didn’t know what to do,” adds Crawford’s dad Eric.
But Sirmans did because the Code Blue team had practiced this drill at least 15 times in the last six years. Instinct and training kicked in.
“You do the one thing you know to do, and then you do the next thing. And the next thing,” says Sirmans.”Have someone call 911. Go grab the AED.”
That AED or automated external defibrillator was only about 30 feet away.
“You hear a lot of noise. (The AED) telling you what to do. It’s telling you to shock. Julie and I kind of looked at each other. And then she pushed it,” says Eric Crawford.
And just like that, 4 and a half minutes after they lost Claire, they got her back.
“I woke up to one of the ladies, who had been giving me mouth-to-mouth. And the AED machine was shouting “CPR, CPR!” and the alarm was going off,” remembers Claire.
Claire’s heart, which tests later revealed had 3 severe blockages, had slipped into a fatal irregular rhythm known as ventricular fibrillation, of V-Fib.
“And it’s a rhythm that can only be corrected by a shock. So, if I had gone down and they had not had an AED, CPR would not have brought me back. I would have had to wait for the ambulance.”
Walton County EMS got their quickly, in 11 minutes. Claire is was already sitting up and talking.
She underwent a triple bypass, then surgery to put in an internal defibrillator.
“I was just blessed to be in a place where it could be treated. Two weeks before that, I was in Honduras, in the mountains, and there is no way, if it had happened then, I would not have lived.”
This week, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta shared the video of Claire’s A-E-D save on its Facebook page. In the first 2 days, it was viewed 7-million times.
“One of the comments that sticks out is “Why would any school not have one of these?”
Money is the biggest obstacle. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has helped a number of schools get the life saving devices into schools. Clinical Program Manager, Richard Lamphier points outs Georgia reqires all interscholastic sports must have one AED.
“We help find grants, poster contest, suggest bake sales, booster clubs, and PTA’s all are way to raise money to purchase an AED.”