NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Northland woman is recovering after her husband saved her life using CPR. The mother of seven and grandmother of five is happy to be alive.
Jennifer Shueddig’s heart stopped for more than 20 minutes. Dr. Justin Maxfield said a big reason for that is her husbands quick action, performing CPR.
“I’m sitting next to my hero,” Shueddig said.
Tom Shueddig has been CPR certified for nearly 40 years, but he’s never used it — until his wife’s heart stopped in their living room.
“I started to freak out,” Tom said, “and something just told me in my head, ‘Remember you know CPR, right?’ And I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I do.’ And so, I grabbed her by her shirt and grabbed her by her leg and just started CPR, called 911. They were here within two minutes.”
Shueddig said emergency crews shocked her five times on the way to the hospital to keep her alive.
“If any one thing would have been different, I wouldn’t be sitting here,” Shueddig said. “I’ve been reassured by the doctors and by EMS and by everybody that his immediate CPR is why I’m still here.”
“I now can cry at the drop of a hat,” Tom said.
Fewer than 10% of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital survive, according to Maxfield. Jennifer Shueddig is one of the 10%.
“The chances of survival double or even triple if CPR is started,” Maxfield said. “Gladstone EMS showed up quick and defibrillated her, which means shocked her heart out of that rhythm and between those two things that made all the difference in the world.”
Maxfield treated and diagnosed Shueddig with myocarditis, a condition in which the heart becomes inflamed, weakening the heart and its electrical system.
He said she was without a pulse for more than 20 minutes.
The 51-year-old said she now wears a life vest that will shock her if necessary. She’s tired, but on a steady climb back to good health and full recovery.
“Nice try, heart, I’m still here,” Shueddig said.
Tom hopes their story will inspire others to become CPR certified.
“If one person can be motivated to learn CPR and can save one life, I’m happy,” Tom said.
He just got retrained two weeks prior to the incident. It’s required for his job. He works with children who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Here are resources if you’d also like to get CPR certified: