Syracuse teen saved by co-worker after suffering cardiac arrest

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Kayla Scholz celebrated her eighteenth birthday alongside her family as they sang “Happy Birthday.” Two days later, she lost her heart beat.

What started as a normal day late last October quickly turned into an unforgettable one for the family when Kayla went into cardiac arrest during her shift at American Eagle.

The store manager at American Eagle quickly called Kayla’s mother, Jennifer, which she described as the worst phone call of her life.

When Jennifer arrived at Destiny USA, Kayla’s co-worker, Sarah Sweeney had been administering CPR on Kayla for ten minutes.

“I just got certified in June, and I never thought I was going to use it, I was like ‘Oh it’s good, like everybody needs it,’ and then this situation happened and I’m grateful I knew CPR and was there at the right time,” Sweeney said.

When Jennifer arrived at the scene, Kayla was being placed into the ambulance.

“She was completely lifeless. They had actually draped a sheet over her, and I went into shock,” Jennifer said.

Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit nurse, Jaime Ryan says Kayla’s case proves how important CPR training can be. Seventy to eighty percent of people go into cardiac arrest in public places, and may not have access to a hospital. That is why CPR certification is so important, Ryan said.

For Kayla and Sarah, the experience has brought them much closer, from co-workers to family. Sarah is someone for whom the Scholz’ family will forever be grateful.

“They are heroes, and family, and I owe them everything, I love them forever. I could never say thank you enough to them,” Jennifer said.