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Teenager’s story of surviving cardiac arrest featured at health summit
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The crowd gives a standing ovation as Gainesville High School senior Jaileen Brown, left, steps on stage with his family. Brown survived cardiac arrest and was featured as part of the Northeast Georgia Regional ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction Summit Friday, March 23, at Chateau Elan in Braselton. - photo by Nick Bowman

Squanka Thomas couldn’t believe the call about her 17-year-old son Jaileen Brown’s heart stopping. He was a healthy teenager who exercised every day, she thought.

When she arrived at the hospital, Brown watched as the medical team worked on her son.

“He was laying basically on the table, and it looks like he was seizing to me. I just didn’t want him to die,” she said.

Brown and Thomas met with the medical team Friday, March 23, at the Northeast Georgia ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction Summit at Chateau Elan in Braselton.

“It felt pretty good, seeing that these are the faces that got me to where I’m at today,” Brown said.

STEMI is considered the most deadly type of heart attack.

With 1,400 people in attendance, the 10th annual summit was the biggest turnout so far, said Northeast Georgia regional STEMI coordinator Jason Grady.

Brown said he didn’t feel well Sept. 7, 2017, and went to school at Gainesville High.

Grady said Brown was lucky to be at a section of the school with an automated external defibrillator and around people who knew CPR.

“Without that AED, he likely wouldn’t be alive,” Grady said.

Thomas said her son, now a senior at Gainesville High School, was back to his usual routines.

She called it a “beautiful moment” to be able to hug members of the team responsible for her son’s survival and thank them “not only for their hard work but this is not an easy job.”

“It takes all of what you do every day and puts it into perspective, that what you do matters and what you do is changing people’s lives. Not just the people you save, but their families as well,” Grady said.