Surviving Cardiac Arrest: A Family’s Perspective on a Second Chance at Life



Cardiac arrest is a common cause of cardiovascular death claiming the lives of more than 380,000 Americans per year. Survival from cardiac arrest is very low. Here in North Carolina, only 12% of cardiac arrest victims survive. The ability to perform CPR rapidly is a critical first step to increasing the chances for survival. Unfortunately, only 17% of cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR in North Carolina.

I worked to create this documentary after caring for a particular cardiac arrest victim in the Duke Critical Care Unit (CCU) in April of 2011. This middle-aged vibrant female experienced cardiac arrest while exercising. She ultimately received CPR for more than 50 minutes. Doctors were pessimistic about her chances of survival or any meaningful neurologic recovery. Her family, however, remained hopeful despite the odds. Over a course of 72 days, Stacy made a remarkable recovery regaining the ability to walk, speak, and function independently. Today, Stacy lives a normal life. Her husband, Eddie, ends in the documentary urging all Americans to learn CPR in order to save the life of a loved one. – Dr. Monique Anderson

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