Bay Area mother of 2 suffers cardiac arrest at 34, survives

Ellen Lamison suffered cardiac arrest 15 years ago at the age of 34.
Ellen Lamison suffered cardiac arrest 15 years ago at the age of 34.

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Chances are someone you know has been impacted by heart disease or stroke. A member of our extended News Channel 8 family had a near-death experience after going into cardiac arrest at home, at age 34.

Her brother, WFLA News Channel 8 Chief Photographer Paul Lamison, got there in the nick of time. Now, 15 years later, Ellen Lamison is sharing her story.

Ellen doesn’t remember much about the day when her heart stopped working. “I remember finishing up painting my sons’ room and I remember them playing on the porch,” she said.

Ellen was home with her two young children when she collapsed. Fortunately, her brother happened to stop by and started CPR. His sister’s young heart had given out.

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Ellen said she never thought that something like this would happen at the age of 34. She was rushed to the hospital and slipped into a coma that lasted weeks. Her doctor at the time, described her dire situation.

“At that point, there was no kidney function. No liver function. No brain function. Her heart was basically doing this. And not working,” he said.

Ellen didn’t know it, but she had cardiomyopathy and an abnormal heart rhythm that had led to cardiac arrest. Trouble had been brewing, she had some symptoms and was actually scheduled to see a cardiologist, but tragedy struck before that appointment arrived.

“I was fatigued a lot and I couldn’t make it through my days and I would faint. One day I was at Target and I fainted. Another day I was in my kitchen and fainted,” she said. Which is why Ellen is now such a proponent of listening to your body and getting help immediately.

Ellen said that recovery took a while. “It was hard, really hard. As the years went by it got easier.”

Ellen still wears a brace on her leg and isn’t always as energetic as she would like to be. But, given what she went through she knows things could have turned out much differently. “They never would give me a prognosis, but I would read on line that people with cardiomyopathy, the expectancy after this happens is 10 years. I’ve made it so far to my 15th year. So, I beat that.”

Ellen’s kids are now all grown up and she’s grateful she was there to see that happen.

“I feel lucky to be alive.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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