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Lehigh Valley woman reunites with emergency responders and care team that saved her life

  • Dr. Nidhi Mehta, a cardiologist at Lehigh Valley Health Network...

    Dr. Nidhi Mehta, a cardiologist at Lehigh Valley Health Network hugs Katie and Adam Young on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, at Northampton Regional EMS in Northampton. Katie Young, of Catasauqua, was there for a reunion with her care team one year after she went into cardiac arrest shortly after putting her two young children down for a nap. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Dr. Nidhi Mehta, a cardiologist at Lehigh Valley Health Network...

    Dr. Nidhi Mehta, a cardiologist at Lehigh Valley Health Network speaks during a reunion Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, at Northampton Regional EMS in Northampton with people who helped save Katie Young’s life one year ago after she went into cardiac arrest. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Katie Young, 37, of Catasauqua attends a reunion Tuesday, Feb....

    Katie Young, 37, of Catasauqua attends a reunion Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, at Northampton Regional EMS in Northampton with people who helped save her life one year ago after she went into cardiac arrest. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • EMT Ernie Ferrero reconnects with Katie Young on Tuesday, Feb....

    EMT Ernie Ferrero reconnects with Katie Young on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, at Northampton Regional EMS in Northampton. Young, 37, of Catasauqua, reunites with her care team one year after she went into cardiac arrest shortly after putting her two young children down for a nap. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Katie Young of Catasauqua speaks Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, with...

    Katie Young of Catasauqua speaks Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, with Dr. Nidhi Mehta, a cardiologist, at Northampton Regional EMS in Northampton. Young was at the facility for a reunion with her care team one year after she went into cardiac arrest shortly after putting her two young children down for a nap. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Katie Young of Catasauqua stands with her 4-year-old daughter, Ada,...

    Katie Young of Catasauqua stands with her 4-year-old daughter, Ada, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, at Northampton Regional EMS in Northampton. Young was at the facility for a reunion with her care team one year after she went into cardiac arrest shortly after putting her two young children down for a nap. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Dr. Nidhi Mehta, a cardiologist at Lehigh Valley Health Network...

    Dr. Nidhi Mehta, a cardiologist at Lehigh Valley Health Network speaks during a reunion Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, at Northampton Regional EMS in Northampton with people who helped save Katie Young’s life one year ago after she went into cardiac arrest. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Adam Young stands with wife, Katie, daughter, Ada and Holden...

    Adam Young stands with wife, Katie, daughter, Ada and Holden on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, at Northampton Regional EMS in Northampton. The Young family was attending a reunion of Katie’s care team who helped her when she went into cardiac arrest one year ago. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Adam Young stands with wife, Katie, daughter, Ada and Holden...

    Adam Young stands with wife, Katie, daughter, Ada and Holden on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, at Northampton Regional EMS in Northampton. The Young family was attending a reunion of Katie’s care team who helped her when she went into cardiac arrest one year ago. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Dr. Nidhi Mehta, a cardiologist at Lehigh Valley Health Network...

    Dr. Nidhi Mehta, a cardiologist at Lehigh Valley Health Network hugs Katie and Adam Young on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, at Northampton Regional EMS in Northampton. Katie Young, of Catasauqua, was there for a reunion with her care team one year after she went into cardiac arrest shortly after putting her two young children down for a nap. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • Katie Young of Catasauqua holds her 1-year-old son, Holden, while...

    Katie Young of Catasauqua holds her 1-year-old son, Holden, while talking Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, at Northampton Regional EMS in Northampton. Young was at the facility for a reunion with her care team one year after she went into cardiac arrest shortly after putting her two young children down for a nap. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

  • EMT Ernie Ferrero reconnects with Katie Young on Tuesday, Feb....

    EMT Ernie Ferrero reconnects with Katie Young on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, at Northampton Regional EMS in Northampton. Young, 37, of Catasauqua, reunites with her care team one year after she went into cardiac arrest shortly after putting her two young children down for a nap. (April Gamiz/첥Ƶ)

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Katie and Adam Young had just put their children down for a nap March 24 when Katie Young went into cardiac arrest.

“I’d just heated up some food for us and when we sat down on the sofa, she looked at me and she said ‘I feel lightheaded,’ ” Adam Young recalled Tuesday. “She looked at me and then she froze up, her jaw tightened up, her eyes rolled in the back of her head and her whole body stiffed on me.”

Katie Young, of Catasauqua, suffered cardiac arrest caused by ventricular arrhythmia, an abnormal heart rhythm. Quick action by her husband, who called 911 and performed CPR for 26 minutes before EMS arrived, as well as the actions of Northampton Regional EMS providers who stabilized her, helped save her life.

Though she was hospitalized for a month and now has an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator to prevent the arrhythmia from returning, Katie has been able to return to her life.

Tuesday morning, nearly a year after she was hospitalized, Katie, 37, and her family, including her two children — Ada, 4, and Holden, 1 — were reunited at Northampton Regional EMS station with the people who saved her life. Those who attended included Northampton Regional EMS and North Catasauqua Fire Department first responders and Lehigh Valley Health Network doctors who cared for her in the hospital.

“I wouldn’t have my best friend if it wasn’t for all of you,” Adam Young told those  gathered at the station.

Katie Young is an outpatient coding analyst for LVHN, and the event was set up by the network as part of American Heart Month. Katie and Adam Young each received awards, as did the first responders and doctors who saved her life.

Katie said the event brought mixed emotions, because while she appreciates what everyone did for her, she has no memory of her cardiac arrest. But she remembers all the support and care she received in the hospital.

“The doctors and nurses went above and beyond; I know a lot of them were talking to us and so they could relate to us, some of them were the same age as us, so it hit home for them,” she said. “The people that do this day in and day out need to keep doing what they’re doing, they’re meant to do this for a reason.”

Ernie Ferrero, who was part of the second EMS crew that arrived to care for Young, said that while it’s cliche to say he and paramedics and emergency medical providers don’t do the work they do for rewards or accolades, Tuesday’s event put into perspective what the work they do means for the families of patients.

“More often than not what you are seeing is a bad outcome,” Fererro said. “Seeing them here today, healthy with the kids and the husband talking about how much he appreciates what we did, is enough to bring a tear to your eye.”

But Katie Young’s survival, a marvel in itself, is worth celebrating. Less than 10% of people who go into cardiac arrest outside a hospital setting survive, according to a study published in the Lancet. Dr. Nidhi Mehta, a cardiologist with LVHN who treated her, added that surviving without any type of morbidity, such as decreased neurological function, is even less common.

“My emotional moment was when I saw them in the office a couple months back because that was the first time I got to see her in jeans and a sweatshirt when she was talking to me,” Mehta said. “That was the most surreal moment for me because I actually saw her sitting next to me and we’re having a normal conversation.”

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