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Surviving Cardiac Arrest: Kevin Miller's Inspiring Journey of CPR, AED, and Second Chances

Updated: May 31, 2023

Kevin Marcus Miller (left) with his brother, Cameron Miller. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Marcus Miller)

Kevin Marcus Miller had a strong desire to improve his lifestyle, engage with new individuals, and achieve a better work-life balance. Consequently, he joined a recreational basketball league in Seattle, hoping to stay active and expand his social circle.

During his second game, just moments after dribbling up the court, Miller suddenly dropped to one knee and collapsed, losing consciousness. Tim Kerns, the organizer of the adult basketball league, had coincidentally entered the gym and immediately noticed the commotion surrounding the fallen man. Speculating that Miller may have twisted his ankle or experienced a seizure, Kerns checked for a pulse in Miller's wrist and neck area but found none.

Realizing the urgency of the situation, Kerns swiftly called for CPR to be administered. While one individual dialed emergency services, Kerns initiated chest compressions. Others in the group promptly aided in stabilizing Miller's body and maintaining the correct rhythm of compressions by collectively singing the Bee Gees song "Stayin' Alive," known to match the recommended tempo of 100 to 120 beats per minute.

As minutes ticked by, Kerns and the bystanders grew increasingly concerned about Miller's condition. Fortunately, paramedics arrived shortly afterward and instructed Kerns to continue performing chest compressions while they prepared a defibrillator to restore Miller's heart rhythm through electrical shocks.

Despite initial unsuccessful attempts, the paramedics persisted, delivering a third shock. With cautious optimism, they then transported Miller to the ambulance.

Kerns, fearing the worst, believed that Miller had passed away until a firefighter informed him otherwise: "No, we got a pulse."

Once at the hospital, doctors decided to induce a coma in Miller to facilitate his recovery from the traumatic incident. Three days later, he regained consciousness, initially bewildered about his circumstances. Unaware of the events leading to his hospitalization, Miller mistook a television report about a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, believing he was among the victims.

Relieved and comforting, his brother reassured him, "You're good, man. We'll tell you what happened. Chill out!"

The doctor then informed Miller that his heart had stopped while playing basketball, and they were working to determine the underlying cause. Ultimately, an electrical issue was identified, resulting in an abnormal rhythm. To safeguard him in the event of future heart stoppages, doctors implanted a subcutaneous cardioverter-defibrillator in his side.

Once medically cleared, Miller eagerly returned to his recreational league, eager to resume playing basketball. However, his heart unexpectedly stopped again. Yet again, Kerns was there to witness the alarming event unfold.

Reacting quickly, Kerns frantically called emergency services, but to his relief, Miller swiftly regained consciousness, assuring everyone that he was fine. The defibrillator had promptly activated, stabilizing his condition.

Miller's sudden cardiac arrest served as a profound wake-up call. Lying in his hospital bed, he made a life-altering decision to step away from his conventional 9-to-5 job and pursue the fulfilling life he had envisioned. Overcoming his fear of judgment, Miller relaunched his marketing company, All Approach, in March 2020, after two prior unsuccessful attempts. His earlier ventures in music production and songwriting had already garnered commercial success, including having one of his songs featured in the film "Almost Christmas." Through resilience and determination, Miller now employs a team of over a dozen individuals and recently revamped the website for the NAACP Snohomish County Branch.

Following his near-death experience, Miller is dedicated to advocating for the well-being of other survivors, particularly individuals of color like himself. He emphasizes the importance of prioritizing personal health, seeking therapy when needed, and finding support communities through social media groups.

For Miller personally, sharing his journey has become a way to empower others to pursue their dreams despite fear and failure. He believes that his greatest blessing from the entire experience is the opportunity to live authentically and fearlessly, unencumbered by self-doubt and hesitation.

In conversations with individuals, Miller shares his story and inspires them to embrace their true selves, take risks, and live life to the fullest. He encourages them to break free from the shackles of fear and judgment, as he did, and to find fulfillment by pursuing their passions.

Kevin Marcus Miller's cardiac arrest served as a powerful catalyst for change in his life. It propelled him to abandon the safety of a traditional job and embark on a journey of entrepreneurship. Through determination and resilience, he has built a successful marketing company and become a source of inspiration for others.

Miller's near-death experience taught him the value of advocating for his own health and well-being. He recognizes the importance of mental health and seeks therapy to address any emotional challenges that may arise. Additionally, he emphasizes the significance of finding a supportive community, even if it is through online platforms and social media groups.

As he continues to live his authentic life, Miller strives to empower others, particularly people of color, to overcome obstacles and pursue their dreams. His message is clear: do not let fear and failure hinder you from living the life you desire. Through his example, Miller demonstrates the power of resilience, determination, and embracing one's true self.

Kevin Marcus Miller's journey serves as a reminder that life is precious and should not be taken for granted. It is a call to action for all individuals to seize the opportunities presented to them, face their fears head-on, and live a life filled with purpose and authenticity.

Source: Learn, Enjoy, and Save Life. Healthforce Training Center offers CPR Training and certifications such as Basic Life Support (BLS), Advance Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advance Life Support (PALS), CPR AED, Pediatric First Aid CPR AED, and First Aid CPR AED.

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