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September 22, 2017 10:00 PM

Teen, Timing And Paramedics Save Woman's Life

When an emergency strikes, do you have what it takes to stay calm and take action? For situations like a cardiac arrest, every second counts.

We meet a family who is thankful for a quick thinking teen and fast first responders. 

On June 3, two members of the Masters family were enjoying a normal night at home, when things took a scary turn.

"I was watching TV with my son, my husband was on evening shifts and my daughter was asleep, and I just basically passed out," said Jennifer Gerrietts-Masters, cardiac arrest survivor. 

"I just looked over at one point and she was just kind of like, she looked like she had just fallen asleep like super dramatically. At first I thought she was like choking on something, but I realized pretty quickly she was just out," said 
Garrett Masters, Jennifer's son.

Jennifer was having a cardiac attack. Her 15-year-old son, Garrett, says he had a moment of panic, quickly snapped out of it, and took action. First he called 911. Then a dispatcher talked him through how to get his mom onto the floor and start CPR.

"It was just, I don't know if I want to say adrenaline rush, but just no idea what's happening," said Garrett. 

Garrett first learned CPR at Boy Scout camp years ago. While he was a crucial key to his mom's survival, there were a few others who stepped in to help that night.

We were there as the Masters met the members of Paramedics Plus who helped save her life.

"I actually work for a company that makes public safety software. So I know the stats. I know when you have a heart event like this, and it's outside a hospital, your chances of surviving are not so good. And they were basically able to give me a chance to continue on," said Jennifer. 

"We drop you off at the hospital, and we see you at your worst time. But we never get to see what happens after that," said Staci Spearn, Paramedics Plus EMT. 

"We respond to cardiac arrests quite often, and a lot of the times it's not a very good outcome. So to see someone who has had a good outcome and has been able to return to their normal lifestyle and actually says that they're doing better is quite amazing," said Dominik Santa Maria, Paramedic for Paramedics Plus. 

Jennifer was diagnosed with left ventricular, non compaction cardio myapothy. It's a very rare genetic disorder that often goes undiagnosed.

"I had check-ups just like everybody else, where they would listen to my heart and nothing really showed up. Now in hindsight, I think I was very tired. But what mom isn't very, very tired? That's kind of just reality," said Jennifer. 

She now has a pace-maker and says she feels better than ever.  She's also getting her blood relatives tested for the disease.

Jennifer hopes her story will not only raise awareness for CPR training and emergency response for adults, but also the young people, like her own son, who can step in to save a life.

"He really did an amazing job. The AHA is really focused on very fast and early detection of cardiac arrests, and early recognition, and early 911, and early CPR. Those are the things that will lead to somebody to have a good outcome," said Santa Maria. 

"I think it's amazing. I think if more of our youth knew how to do CPR in situations like that, I think we could really lower those statistics," said Spearn. 

"He's a typical teenager and I nag him to do his homework and to practice his cello and to get to school on time. All of those things, but when it really counted he jumped in and did what was needed," said Jennifer. 

Jennifer says she would also like to see more people using life-saving technology and apps on their smart phones, such as Pulse Point and countless others. 

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