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Westchester Neighbors Lead Local Effort to Prevent Sudden Cardiac Deaths

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Schoen and Colasante families (from L to R: Alice Schoen, Steve Schoen, Dave Colasante, Dana Colasante) in 2019 (Courtesy Alice Schoen)

“I was at work and saw that I had missed a couple of calls from my husband. My first thought was that our son Jordan had broken another bone while he was playing basketball,” says Rye Brook resident Alice Schoen. “Then I read a text that said, ‘Drop everything and get to New Rochelle Hospital’.”

About an hour before Alice read that text in 2017, Jordan Schoen had scored a 2-point basket, then his 17-year-old athlete’s heart stopped beating. Jordan crumbled to the gym floor with a sudden cardiac arrest, or SCA.

Just four years earlier, Dave Colasante, another Rye Brook resident who was then 45, had an SCA while away during a father-son soccer game. When his wife Dana heard the news about Schoen, it brought back a flood of memories. “Even with what had happened to Dave, I was stunned to hear that this had occurred in someone who was so young,” she says.

Dave Colasante and Jordan Schoen were both saved by the quick thinking and actions of first responders who happened to be in their respective audiences.

Rapid treatment is vital for someone to survive an SCA. The victim’s heart usually needs a shock to restore its normal rhythm. That shock is delivered through an external device called an automated external defibrillator, AED, that gives the heart sort of a rhythm “reboot.”

For Colasante, an AED was found and retrieved from a nearby school, which fortunately was open on the weekend. In Jordan’s case, there was a defibrillator outside the gymnasium doors, but either the majority of those who were present didn’t know where it was or didn’t recognize the need to get it.

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