CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mecklenburg Emergency Medical Services Agency helped save a 17-year-old’s life and was recently reunited with the teen, Jalen Hart, who went into cardiac arrest in March.
(Watch the reunion in the video below)
Christmas holds new meaning for Sonya Hart and her two sons because nine months ago, doctors weren't sure Jalen, her oldest son, would survive after his heart stopped.
"If my younger brother wasn't there by my side at the time, I probably wouldn't be here today," Jalen said.
Jalen and his brother, Jason, were watching television when Jason, 15, said his brother started making a loud, snoring noise.
“I flipped him over and his face was kind of white,” Jason said.
Jason called 911 and dispatchers walked him and his grandfather through CPR until paramedics arrived and took over.
“It took at least 33 minutes before they could get a faint heartbeat," Sonya said.
Jalen was put on life support at the hospital and that is when his family learned he had Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a rare disorder where the heart has an extra electrical pathway.
“Jalen was in the hospital for 73 days,” Sonya said.
Those days have taken a financial toll on the single mother, who said she's now faced with mounting medical bills.
Doctors performed a procedure on Jalen's heart and not long after he left the hospital, Jalen was reunited with the paramedics who saved his life.
Jalen is a senior at West Mecklenburg High School, and although he now struggles with memory loss, the teen is determined to graduate in June.