Off-Duty Nurse Saves Teen Having Heart Attack

July 15, 2013

Nick Theilgaard says he now believes in miracles after a nurse practitioner in pediatric cardiology came to his aid as he had a heart attack -- his third -- over the weekend.

The 16-year-old was eating at a neighborhood restaurant when the latest attack hit him. By sheer coincidence, nurse Sarah Kane and her doctor fiancé were dining there, too.

"He said, 'Oh, that's weird.' And then he, like, all of a sudden dropped his head back and his eyes rolled into the back of his head, and we hollered, '911!'" the teen's mother, Diane Theilgaard, recalled Wednesday. "He turned like a purpleish-blue color, so that is when I feel like I lost my son."

Kane sprang to action and performed roughly 10 minutes of CPR. It was the first time the pair had met.

"Actually Nick came back for less than a minute. [He was] spontaneously breathing [and] had a pulse. I flipped him on his side, in case he was to throw up because he just ate. And then within probably 30 seconds or so he actually turned blue again and lost his pulse."

Even as the ambulance was pulling away to take Theilgaard to Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, it wasn't clear he would make it. The boy's cardiologist, Dr. Ira Shetty, said he may not have had it not been for Kane's efforts.

Theilgaard, a former athlete-turned-aspiring-rapper, hopes to soon have a defibrillator surgically implanted to manage his heart rhythms.


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