Woman Names Baby After Medic Who Saved Her Life
April 01, 2010
ST. CHARLES, MO – A St. Charles County woman went into sudden cardiac arrest at just 32 years old, but skilled medics brought her back to life. Now those paramedics are getting a surprise from their miracle patient.
“It came out as an unconscious female,” remembers paramedic Kevin Griffith of the call that came into ambulance station 14 on August 29, 2009 It was not a call that frightened him or his partner, paramedic Russell Allen. But they were frightened by what they saw when they arrived in the parking lot of Cusumano’s restaurant in O’Fallon, Illinois.
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“We pulled up and saw her color and said, ‘Wow. She’s dead.’” Griffith admits. Mary Smith was lying on the ground outside the restaurant with no pulse, no breath, and no life. Because Allen and Griffith were on duty at a relatively new station in St. Charles County off Highway K, they were on scene, working on their patient within four minutes. And their care brought Mary back. “I mean words can’t explain it,” she says. “Those ‘what if’s’ go through my mind, still, every day.”
Smith says she had no symptoms. No warning signs hinted something could be going wrong inside her heart. That Saturday in August she had spent the morning working out at a gym, then she and her husband, Shawn, took their daughter to her grandfather’s for a playdate. Shawn and Mary joined friends at a winery, where Mary was the designated driver. Mary acted normal all day, until she collapsed walking into the restaurant. She had gone into sudden cardiac arrest, which is not often survivable.
Allen and Griffith rushed Mary to a hospital, where she spent three weeks recuperating. They implanted a defibrillator in her heart. But have since given her a clean bill of health. Wednesday was a reunion between the medics and their miracle patient, where she delivered miraculous news: Mary Smith is six months pregnant with a little girl, who will be named Laney Russell Smith. Russell is in honor of medic Russ Allen.
“I’ve never had an honor like that, for any situation,” he said. He was visibly touched.
“It was not a question,” said Mary. “If it was a boy it would’ve been after both of them. Just a constant reminder for what they did for me.”
“It’s better than Kevin for a girl’s name!” joked Griffith, who thought the gesture was truly something special. “Anyway, my mother would be happy to say there’s too many Kevins as it is!”
Smith and her husband are now trying to spread the word to anyone who will listen about getting more people trained in CPR and putting defibrillators in public places.
Laney is due July 20.
“It’s a miracle,” said Shawn.
“We have a reminder that I’m here for a reason,” said Mary.