Quick CPR and defibrillation saves teen's life

Posted at 5:57 PM, Jan 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-05 21:54:36-05

A Wisconsin teen beat the odds, walking out of Children's Hospital of Wisconsin just over a week after his heart stopped on a basketball court.

It took quick thinking, quick acting, and a bit of "right place, right time" to keep Michael Saxby, 16, alive.

"I just feel lucky," he said Thursday after walking off an elevator at the hospital to find his teammates and the people who saved his life waiting, cheering him on. "I can't appreciate them enough."

Last Tuesday it looked like he might not even make it off the basketball court.

"The other kid got up, but he did not," said Molly Saxby, Michael's mom.

Aurora Sports Medicine Athletic Trainer Scott Barthlama was working the tournament Michael played in. He said it's never a good sign when a gym goes quiet, and that's what happened. Barthlama started CPR immediately, while someone else went to get an AED device. Luckily, the school has several.

"The AED analyzes the heart rhythm, it had said shock advised, so we cleared the patient and delivered the shock," said Barthlama.

"Timely resuscitation at the time and timely defibrillation is the biggest reason Michael made it to the hospital in the first place," said Dr. Joshua Kovach, Michael's pediatric cardiologist.

According to the American Heart Association, in 2016, more than 350,000 people experienced cardiac arrest outside of the hospital. Of those people, 12 percent survived. But, the chance of survival went up to 46 percent when bystanders started CPR.

Michael and his mother said it's lucky he collapsed where he did, with the people around him. Now, they said, they plan to learn CPR.

"You never know when this could happen to somebody and you know what to be the one there just knowing you could have done something to help them," said Michael.

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