April 25 was a terrifying day for parents Matt and Erin Uber and their family. Their 4-year-old daughter could have died if it hadn’t been for Matt’s immediate recollection of a snippet from the popular television show, “The Office.”
Matt was home with his youngest daughter, Vera, having dinner while mom was out. The mood darkened quickly when a game of chase suddenly gave way to an unresponsive child.
“Running around and around and we ended up just kind of back … and she was chasing and giggling and laughing and all of a sudden, she wasn’t,” Matt told WTHR-TV. “I’m just realizing she’s going pale, she’s not breathing. She’s … she’s just not there.”
Matt had his older daughter call 911 while he drew on the only knowledge of CPR he had: the infamous episode of The Office called “Stress Relief.”
“I was freaking out a little, honestly,” Matt said, according to Riley Children’s Health. “Before I had the assistance of the 911 operator getting me on the right cadence, I had a flashback to ‘The Office,’ where Michael is doing CPR to the tune of ‘Stayin’ Alive.’ I don’t know how I barely knew enough to be adequate.”
“I had no idea what’s going on … and then I just, you know, started a spastic, panicked version of CPR,” he told WTHR.
Soon the operator on the other end of the 911 call was able to assist him while first responders headed their way. Vera ended up needing to be shocked by a defibrillator two times before her heart picked up a normal rhythm again.
Up until then, Vera had been the picture of health — but after she was taken to the hospital, she was diagnosed with an incredibly rare heart abnormality.
“Vera has something called calmodulinopathy,” her cardiologist, Dr. Mark Ayers, told Riley Children’s Health. “It is a very rare and life-threatening arrhythmia syndrome caused by a genetic mutation in calmodulin proteins.”
“Calmodulin is a protein responsible for maintaining appropriate calcium levels in our cells, and when it doesn’t function appropriately, the abnormal calcium regulation can result in fatal ventricular arrhythmias.
“It is amazing that Vera’s dad was able to keep his composure and perform adequate CPR to keep her alive, especially since he didn’t know CPR at the time. The 911 rep was able to guide him through it until EMS arrived with an AED to shock her back to normal rhythm and ultimately save her life.”
Vera is receiving treatment and has had surgery to implant a defibrillator. Matt has since received CPR training from a fireman so that he has the appropriate skills moving forward.
Erin and Matt carefully made the decision to share their story with the world, urging people to take CPR classes. You never know when the training will come in handy, and when you do, it’s often too late.
“At the end, we celebrate the miracle of Vera Posy …and acknowledge all of the tiny ones we’ve been gifted through the hardest experience of our lives,” Erin posted on Facebook.
“We share the glory with our God, our family, our friends, our community helpers, and medical professionals FROM AROUND THE WORLD that have prayed for us, rooted us on, and used big, brilliant brains to make wise decisions for her best behalf.”
“Learn CPR. Take a class. Watch a video. Learn about AEDS,” the mom continued.
“And fearlessly step in if the opportunity presents itself. Miracles are real. We’ve lived one.”
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