Heart attack survivors promote portable defibrillators
Two local teenagers, saved by the same medical technology, joined doctors and first responders Tuesday at Dell Children's Hospital. They were there to promote the expanded use of portable defibrillators.
Deleye Kamara and Dadrien Brown share a common bond they never dreamed they would have.
"I just thank God for giving me another day,” said Brown.
Deep inside both their chests is a device, like this one, that helps keep their hearts beating.
"This happened like, three weeks before my birthday, and when it came to my birthday, I was thinking about it in my room, I’m not supposed to be here, right now, I’m supposed to be six feet under,” said Kamara.
Both played sports. Dadrien on the hard court and Deleye was a dual sport player. Both teenagers suffered sudden heart attacks while competing. Tuesday, Michael Heeny, the first responder who saved Dadrien, reunited with the family.
"And I heard his mother scream, you know that scream, we deal with it .... on a regular basis,” said Heeny.
The rescue was a success because of a portable defibrillator. For Dadrien’s father, Heeny is now like family.
"Words can’t explain, I love him man, if he wasn't there, I don’t think my son, would be standing there,” said Andre Brown.
"When I meet, when I see the parents, I see parent’s faces, then it hits home that, I feel amazing I was able to help this family.
A similar device saved Deleye Kamara after he collapsed on a soccer field.
"Every day, I’m always happy because I survived something most people don’t,” said Kamara.
At every high school in Texas- at least one portable defibrillator is required, by state law and UIL rules, to be on campus. The mandate - took effect in 2007 and almost immediately started saving lives.
“It’s an essential,” said ATCEMS Capt. Randy Chhabra.
Promoting awareness about the device, and CPR, is why officials at Dell Children’s Medical Center say they organized Tuesday’s survivor’s reunion.
"People need to understand, it’s not just kids who are athletes who have sudden events, its kids who are not athletes that have sudden bad events, its adults, teachers in the schools, so really in place where large populations gather I think we've shown that we have the ability to save lives if we have those tools available to us,” said Dr. Daniel Shmorhun.
For Deleye and Dadrien portable defibrillators not only gave them back a heart beat -- the devices also started a new lifelong friendship.
"I survived so I could come and help him out and he could help me out,” said Kamara.
As part of the legislation that was passed here in 2007, portable defibrillators must be accessible during high school sporting events and practices. Students in grades 7th to 12th are also required to take a CPR class before graduating.