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Stanford University School of Medicine

Bystander CPR gives eight-year-old girl another shot at life

Sofia#1What does it take to save a life? If you'd asked me 20 or so years ago I might have said that CPR could do the trick. But is this decades-old technique still relevant and useful today? For eight-year old Sofia Montoya the answer is a definitive "yes."

Sofia was playing tag with friends when she suddenly went into cardiac arrest. She was airlifted to the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford for emergency care, but she never would have arrived alive if she hadn't been given CPR and defibrillation by her school's staff and community first responders. Packard Children's features Sofia's story on their website:

"When I first saw her, she was lying on a backboard with a collar on. She was white as a sheet, not moving or breathing very well," said Shara Griffis, RN, the flight nurse who was on board with Sofia.

During the 10-minute flight to the hospital, Sofia again stopped breathing. Griffis inserted a breathing tube in her mouth. Griffis knew that Sofia's brain was in danger of not getting sufficient oxygen -- a primary concern when someone has to be resuscitated.

Sofia was diagnosed with long QT syndrome, a disorder that causes erratic heartbeats. She now has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator that helps her heart keep a steady beat and she is expected to do well.

"Sofia's story is a perfect example of all the pieces coming together," said Lynda Knight, MSN, RN, director of the REVIVE Initiative for Resuscitation Excellence at Stanford Children's Health. "This scenario is what we train for, starting with bystander CPR. Evidence shows that if a bystander performs CPR, the outcome will be better. Paramedics take, on average, four to eight minutes to arrive, and each minute that someone goes without chest compressions, their chance of survival goes down by 10 percent."

Previously: A young child, a falling cabinet, and a Life Flight rescue, Cardiac arrest in pregnancy: New consensus statement addresses CPR for expectant moms and Take-home kit helps at-risk kids' families learn CPR skills
Photo courtesy of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford

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