Holyoke 7th grader awake after 2 cardiac arrests, 4 days in medically-induced coma

A Holyoke seventh grader is now out of her medically induced coma nearly a week after she suffered two cardiac arrest episodes
Published: Jan. 15, 2023 at 6:17 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 15, 2023 at 9:02 PM EST
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HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - A Holyoke seventh grader is now out of her medically induced coma nearly a week after she suffered two cardiac arrest episodes and now, Western Mass News is getting answers on the importance of a technique used to save her life

After Nevaeh Vieira spent four days in a medically induced coma, her mother, Krissy, told Western Mass News that her daughter is expected to make a full recovery. The seventh grader collapsed in her mother’s bedroom last weekend after complaining of chest pains. She suffered from two cardiac arrests and was placed into a medically induced coma for four days so that her body could recover

Nevaeh did suffer some minor brain damage from a stroke she sustained from a lack of oxygen.

After collapsing, Vieira’s mother quickly sprung into action and began administering chest compressions until the EMTs arrived. It’s an act that pediatrician Dr. John Kelley said probably saved her life.

“Having an immediate response like that within minutes of the event is absolutely crucial…If you have no circulation to the brain for five minutes or more, it’s very unlikely you’re going to get the person back,” Kelley explained.

Western Mass News asked Kelley about the importance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, more commonly known as CPR.

“People should be trained in CPR and how to do it. It’s pretty easy to find courses in CPR. It’s not a big time commitment and it gives you the confidence if you come across someone who’s collapsed, you know what to do…It’s something I think we should all think about doing and be ready to do and it’s a good thing for our community to have a high percentage of people who are trained for CPR,” Kelley explained.

Western Mass News is digging deeper and found that while CPR training is easily accessible, few people are actually up to date on their certification. Sixty-five percent of people in United States said they have received some sort of CPR training at some point in their lives, according to Harvard Medical School, but that same report says only 18 percent of people are up to date on their training. Kelley told us cardiac events in children, like in Vieira’s case, are rare, but they can be serious.

“The heart itself, it’s usually not an organ or a system that I worry about too…These are very rare things. In my 20 years, I can’t say for sure, but this is my first knowledge of a situation like this,” Kelley added.

In Massachusetts, CPR certification lasts two years and Kelley said it’s a lifesaving tool.

As for Vieira, we are told that she is still in the pediatric intensive care unit, but is expected to make a full recovery at this time.