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Sudden Cardiac Arrest – Our Story

Thursday October 3, 2013

This day started off like any other day.  Mom went to the doctor for a regular appointment,  post office to drop off a letter to me, Walmart to buy some things, and then went back home.  When dad came home he took Mom to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions.  Mom went to lie down on the sofa and was cold, so Dad put another blanket on her.  A short time later she sat up and said she was having chest pains and trouble breathing.  911 was called.

A neighbor of my parents, Dan,  is an EMT and walked to their home immediately.   He administered nitro glycerine for Mom as he knew she was most likely having a heart attack. Within a few minutes, 3 ambulances arrived at my parents home.  Yeadon Fire Company, Collingdale Fire Company and Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital Paramedics.  So far, Mom was doing good.  Craig, my brother, was just coming home, and he along with neighbor Dan,  Helped Mom down the steps and onto the ambulance stretcher.   The paramedics quickly took her to the ambulance and loaded her into the back.

The moment she was loaded in,  she began to shake,  an image that my brother and father will never forget.  Paramedics immediately started CPR.  Dad knew it was bad.  Neighbor Dan, immediately drove my Dad and brother to the hospital.

I had just got home from work and my phone rang.  I immediately knew something tragic happened by the tone of my Dad’s voice.  He was shook, he was scared.  I told him not to worry,  I was going to get on our way to come.  I immediately called my sister so she could rush to the hospital with her husband.  Cody, my wife, was in Florida with her family, so I had to call her and ask her to jump on a plane to immediately come back so we could make the trip to Pennsylvania.   Southwest airlines was able to get Cody on a booked flight due to the emergency situation.

As soon as Cody arrived home, we hit the road on our 15 hour trip to Pennsylvania.  Meanwhile, Doctors were doing everything they could to stabilize Mom.

Mom fell into a coma due to the lack of oxygen and the CPR that was required for 10 minutes in the ambulance, and another 5 minutes in the Emergency Room. The hospital performed a hypothermia procedure which lowers her body temperature to 91 degrees for 24 hours, and then warms it back up slowly for another 12 hours. This is a recently new procedure which helps lesson brain damage from lack of oxygen in cardiac arrest victims. Mom did not want to live on machines,  so we allowed her to stay on the ventilator for 2 weeks to give her time and to see if she would come back to us, as in other miracle stories, and for us to learn more about our options.

I reached out to members of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest association, as well as demanding a second opinion from another neurologist. The first neurologist was very cold, and lacked compassion.  The second neurologist was extremely caring, empathetic and explained everything really well. We were working with about five different doctors/specialists.  We tried everything we could; cried, prayed, told her how much we loved her,  and had hundreds of family and friends praying for a miracle.

Friday October 18, 2013

As much as we didn’t want to, we decided to honor my Mom’s wishes and remove the ventilator.  She showed no signs of improvement, and there was no responsiveness at all. Doctors removed the ventilator and the hospital moved my Mom to Vitas hospice.  Vitas hospice is located right in the hospital.  Extremely caring and helpful nurses, and a nice loving family environment.  We were very happy with Vitas Hospice.

We stayed with Mom,  talking to her, and making sure she knew how much we loved her and will miss her.

Tuesday October 22, 2013 at 12:21pm

We were at Mom’s side when she took her last breaths and went to be with God.  She went peacefully and we were able to tell her how much we love her, and we will miss her dearly.  Mom went to Heaven to be with God.  We Love you Mom. Life will never be the same without you.

Philippians 4:13
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength”

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is often confused with a heart attack.   Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the complete stopping of the heart.  My Mom started out with what was probably a heart attack,  but it turned into a Sudden Cardiac Arrest.  We asked for a Miracle,  and looking back, God granted us the miracle of her hanging on to life until I could be with her and say our Goodbyes.  God gave us a Miracle to spend time with her, while coping with the situation and letting her know we loved her.

When my Mom suffered the Sudden Cardiac Arrest, she was with the Paramedics and they immediately performed CPR. Most people that suffer a Sudden Cardiac Arrest are not that lucky.  Many will die before even getting to the hospital.

This is why it is CRITICAL for everyone to learn CPR.  Every second is extremely important.  Knowing CPR could drastically improve a persons, loved ones, friends chance of survival.

Please learn CPR, and read up on Sudden Cardiac Arrests.  Sudden Cardiac Arrests can happen to anyone, young or old, even people in athletic condition.


Patricia A. Basciano, age 68, of East Lansdowne, died Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at Vitas Hospice at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital.Born in Philadelphia to the late Joseph and Virginia O’Donnell McVeigh, she was a resident of E. Lansdowne for over 45 years, where she was a member of St. Cyril of Alexandria Church. She was a graduate of Upper Darby High School and Penn State Univ. Patricia was employed by the Head Start Program as a teacher for 17 years. Survivors: A loving wife, mother, and nana, she is survived by her husband Stephen C. Basciano, Jr.; children Christina (Mark) Brunschwyler, Stephen C. (Cody) Basciano, III, Craig D. Basciano; and 5 grandchildren.Also survived by her sister Eileen Farrell and brother Chuck McVeigh. Services: Relatives and friends are invited to her Funeral Mass Friday, 10 a.m., at St. Cyril Church, 153 Penn Blvd., E. Lansdowne. There will be a viewing Thurs. Eve., 7-9 p.m. and Fri. Morn., after 8:45a.m., at the Marvil Funeral Home, 1110 Main St., Darby, PA. Burial: Saints Peter and Paul Cemetary