Young woman survives sudden cardiac arrest

Two young children from the north metro don't realize how lucky they are to have their mom this Christmas. Not even 30 years old and a heart attack nearly killed her a few weeks ago.

It was five-year-old Jaxson who witnessed his 26-year-old mom, Bailey Banek, collapse from a cardiac arrest at their home in Milaca on December 4.

Seconds later, with their five-month-old also looking on, Banek's boyfriend Brandon Ruff called 911 and started chest compressions.

“Scared, she could die and I could be a single dad,” said Ruff, remembering the incident. “It's kind of a scary sight when you see your loved one blue in the face.”

“I was scared it could happen again and him not being there,” said Banek.

Dr. Keith Lurie from St. Cloud Hospital demonstrated to Fox 9 the combined system of care approach, which saved Banek's life. The life-saving method started in Minnesota a decade ago. It's a combination of CPR followed by paramedics using a device called a Res-Q-Pod to get more blood flowing to the heart, and later cooling the body temperature down to 91 degrees to prevent brain damage. 
“We still don't know why she developed a cardiac arrest, but we think it's a genetic abnormality related to the way her cardiac electrical system works,” said Dr. Lurie.

Just days before Christmas, and with a implanted defibrillator, Banek is back home with her family.

“I'm very grateful for my life and it puts a new meaning on it now,” she said.      

She'll have to be careful for awhile on how she holds her baby, Raelyn against her chest, but the fact that she’s doing well enough to share her story gives her and her doctors renewed hope and focus for the future.

“Our challenge is in rural Minnesota where it's hard to get there, but in this case it worked beautifully,” said Dr. Lurie. “It was a Christmas present not only to family, but to all of us who have worked so hard to be prepared so when a patient like Bailey goes down - we can save her.”

Banek does have health insurance, but won’t be able to work for several months. If you would like to help the family with expenses click here.