Sun, Oct 07, 2007 - Page 17 News List

Heart, interrupted

An ill-timed kick from a horse sends an 11-year-old girl into a rare form of cardiac arrest that only occurs if the heart is jolted in the 15-millisecond pause between heartbeats and almost always results in death

By STEPHANIE EARLS  /  NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE, ALBANY, NEW YORK

... Five ...

Delana's heart began to beat.

Lub-dub. Lub-dub.

Delana's body twitched, and she sucked in a deep breath. The color returned immediately to her face. Her eyes fluttered open, and her vision focused on the faces leaning over her.

"Do you know your name?" Burton asked.

"Delana."

"Do you remember what happened?"

"I got kicked by a horse."

"Do you know how old you are?"

"Eleven."

She was going to be fine. It was unbelievable, thought Burton, but she was going to be fine.

The EMT arrived. An ambulance was on its way to take her to the hospital, and Burton promised he'd see Delana and Suzanne there as soon as his shift started that evening.

Someone wanted to shake Burton's hand.

Two people wanted to shake his hand.

Then three.

"That's the most amazing thing I've ever seen," said one man.

The doctor thought, "You have no idea just how amazing."

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