"Miracle Boy" - Stephen Brown's Story
Miracle Boy - Stephen Brown's Story
Stephen Brown – 19-year-old Cardiac Arrest Patient
Susan Brown – Stephen’s Mother
Jo Ann Naylor – RN, Coronary Care Unit, MUSC
Stephen Brown: I was at college. I was in the library, walking up the stairs. All of sudden, I told this girl I wasn’t feeling well. I passed out and went into cardiac arrest for around 40 minutes.
Jo Ann Naylor: When my staff called me to let me know that we had someone coming in who was very young and had been down for a very long time, I volunteered to come in to serve as a resource and assist the staff in implementing the hypothermia protocol as quickly as possible for him.
Susan Brown: They just said he had been down, already, for, I think it was like 16 minutes. EMS, or one of the students in the library, called us. I forget who picked up the phone. They didn’t think he was going to make it. They warned us that it’s a long time and, you know, weren’t sure what was going to happen. But, you know, he was 19, and that was one thing he had going for him. It was explained that they started the cooling therapy, and if anything, that was going to save his brain.
Jo Ann Naylor: If someone has a cardiac arrest, and they meet the criteria, the American Heart Association recommends that we cool them for a period of 24 hours. And then we rewarm them, slowly, over the next 24 hours. All of this is done to prevent or minimize the devastating neurological effects that can happen after someone experiences cardiac arrest.
Susan Brown: When he gave the thumbs up that he could hear them, we knew then, okay, you know, there’s some cognition, because he heard the nurse say, “Stephen, if you can hear me, give me a thumbs up”, and he did. And they were so ecstatic. It was hard, but somehow, little by little, every day, something came back to him. Sometimes I just think about it and I can’t believe that he’s still here after what he’s gone through.
Jo Ann Naylor: We implemented the protocol in 2006, and we have treated 43 patients since then. Stephen was our 42nd patient. All hypothermia patients that are treated here at MUSC receive a unique multidisciplinary approach. Cardiologists, pulmonologists, and neurointensivists, all, see these patients and work together as a team to ensure that they have the best outcomes.
Stephen Brown: They refer to me as Miracle Boy because most people don’t survive after six minutes; I think it is, of having no brain function. In fact, I’ve done this twice now. I’m just lucky.
Dr.: This really is what we sign up for when we all, you know, sit back and say, “Hey, I want to be a doctor”. I think a story like Stephen’s is exemplary of why, and it’s reinforced when we see him smiling and talking months later.
Stephen Brown: I volunteer on Cardiology, downstairs. I just answer call bells and walk patients down when they’re discharged. I wanted to become a cardiologist, coincidentally, before all this happened. So, hopefully, I’ll be in Dr. Steinberg’s position one day.
Jo Ann Naylor: We’re just so pleased that he’s willing to come back and see us, and to volunteer at MUSC, to give something back to the patients and staff. He gives us hope and reason to continue this protocol. It really does work. It really does make a difference in people’s lives.