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Curtis's Second Chance

My name is Heather Broome (pictured above, second from left) and I am writing to personally thank you for your support of John Muir Health.  Without the remarkable care that my husband, Curtis, received in a sudden, life-threatening situation, he would not be alive today, or the loving husband and father that he is to me and our four-year-old son, C.J.  This is our story of how an ordinary day turned into an agonizing experience, but with a miraculous outcome.

Curtis and I have always shared a passion for cycling, and on any given weekend, you could find us out on the open road or trail.  On Saturday, May 26, 2012, the two of us were riding our bikes near Orinda, when Curtis suddenly collapsed and fell to the ground, unconscious.  Another cyclist saw us and rushed over to administer CPR, while someone else called 911.  When the ambulance arrived to take Curtis to the hospital, all I could think was, “Please don’t die – our baby is going to need you!”  We had just received confirmation three days earlier that I was pregnant.

In the emergency room at John Muir Medical Center, it was confirmed that Curtis had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and he also had serious injuries to his head and face from falling off his bike.  His condition was highly unstable, so when he went into cardiac arrest again, the nurses tried to brace me for the unthinkable – that my husband might not survive.

It must have been fate that John Muir Health had recently obtained a new device that can temporarily take over a patient’s heart function.  Thanks to interventional cardiologist Dr. Richard Chang, Curtis was the first John Muir Health patient to have it implanted.  It proved successful, and with his heartbeat restored, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Andreas Kamlot recommended a heart transplant as Curtis’s best option.  Even though he knew the odds were against us, Dr. Kamlot’s unwavering hope and determination to save my husband gave me hope, too.  Then, during one final test before moving forward with the transplant option, Curtis’s heartbeat was stronger – it had improved!  And he did not need the transplant, after all.  29 days after his heart event, Curtis came home, upright, on his own two feet.  If felt like a miracle.

Our son, C.J., arrived on January 13, 2013, almost eight months after that fateful bike ride.  We had him at John Muir (of course) so we were able to share our joy with many of the same people who had shared our anguish during Curtis’s journey.

Words can hardly express our gratitude for Dr. Chang, Dr. Kamlot and everyone on Curtis’s care team who fought for his life and made it possible for us to be the family we are today.  Please continue to support the life-saving work of John Muir Health.  You can make a crucial difference in the lives of patients and families like ours.

With sincere appreciation,

Heather Broome

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