In March of 2018, Maeve collapsed suddenly twenty minutes into softball practice – and went into Sudden Cardiac Arrest. It was her first symptom of an underlying heart problem.
Thanks to the quick actions of her coach and trainer – who sprang into action and performed CPR with an AED – Maeve survived, and was taken to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and into the care of Dr. Maully Shah, SADS advocate and member of the SADS Physician Referral Network.
“The reason that Maeve is alive today is because of the quick use of CPR with an AED,” says Maeve’s mom, Marguerite. “That’s why we need more awareness – and to make sure our communities are equipped with AEDs that work.”
Maeve had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implanted while in the hospital, which helps keep her safe from future cardiac events, and received a diagnosis of idiopathic (unknown cause) ventricular fibrillation. Since then, she’s been able to return to playing softball.
“The first year after my event was the hardest,” she says. “It took a while to get back into the rhythm of everyday things, adjust to my medication, and recover from my ICD surgery.”
Watching Damar Hamlin’s collapse in January 2023 was difficult for Marguerite; while she and her husband didn’t see Maeve’s Sudden Cardiac Arrest, it brought back the emotions of receiving that life-changing phone call. And for Maeve, it was a reminder of the steps that still need to be taken to ensure communities are safe.
“Before my event, some of my peers didn’t even know what CPR or an AED was,” she says. “I wish that a simple lesson in CPR was required for all high schoolers.”
Both Maeve and Marguerite are very thankful for the care they received at CHOP – and especially from Dr. Shah.
“Dr. Shah is very compassionate, approachable, and always values both me and my husband’s opinions and Maeve’s,” says Marguerite. “She guided us along the journey at our own pace, and always communicated clearly. She’s looked at prom pictures, had tough conversations about college, and always been so easy to talk to.”
For those who’ve just had a Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or have been diagnosed with a heart condition like hers, Maeve recommends taking the diagnosis day by day. “Some days you’ll feel okay, and some days you’ll have to find the good in little things. This can be a lot to take on.”
Marguerite wants other parents to know that getting reliable information is one of the most important things you can do. “Don’t go down the rabbit hole of reading too much and getting overwhelmed – not everything you read will happen to your kid,” she says. “Rely on places like CHOP and SADS for information. This diagnosis requires patience and time, but now we’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff in life.”
I suffered an idiopathic SCA in 2016 at 44. Very lucky that my colleagues had just done a first aid refresher and grabbed an available AED! No CPR, numerous tests but wasn’t confirmed until AED retrieved. ICD implanted and all is good. Cheers