Piedmont girl’s life saved by dad, sustained by doctors and special device

A Heart 4 Kids
Data pix.

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - It’s been a year since a young girl collapsed and almost died while on vacation with her family.

Doctors say her dad saved her life. But it is what doctors here in Oklahoma did that keeps her alive.

"Dear doctors, thank you for taking care of our people and my sister,” Presley Woods wrote in a letter to doctors. “You guys are caring, nice, sweet, and trustworthy. Thank you for letting them stay healthy and giving them medicine. My sister is doing good. No problems and no accidents. From Presley. Thank you, Dr. Burkhart"

It is a miracle Presley and her little sister, Payton are together.

"She was perfectly healthy a few days before, and then that morning she was complaining of chest pain,” Payton’s mother, Amber Woods, said.

Then, Payton collapsed in the middle of Walmart.

Her dad had never taken a CPR class and had no idea how to perform it, but he did it that day.

"When it's your own kid you kind of just go right into it,” Ricky Woods said. “It sounds cheesy, but just instincts. I couldn't not do something."

"They said he saved her life. If he would have waited, this would have been a totally different outcome."

"The most incredible thing about Payton is that this happened and her father did CPR and saved her life,” Dr. Harold Burhkart said. “That's the real hero of this story, and the real touching part of this story."

Payton's dad saved her life and then doctors sustained it.

"Payton had a heart issue where she had what's called sudden arrest or sudden death,” Burkhart said. "She needed to have a device put in that would shock her heart out of that rhythm if it happened again to hopefully avoid sudden death and collapse."

The Children's Hospital Network brought Dr. Burhkart to the Children's Hospital from the Mayo Clinic where he himself helped develop that special device.

Payton calls it her button.

Dr. Burhkart put it just below her ribs, right behind the muscle.

"We will make a small incision right here and put a coil, a wire essentially around the heart, and then we have the battery here that's the generator. And that will form the arc to shock the heart if a rhythm happened."

Since Payton's had it, it's been shocking her heart back into a normal rhythm 30 percent of the time, and it went right to work immediately after surgery.

"The next day she had episodes where she would just go unresponsive. She would just be sitting there and would slump over,” her mom said. "I asked a nurse what was going on and she said that at that time her pacemaker was taking over for her, and that if she didn't have it that they would be doing CPR. We knew something was wrong, but I think at that point it really hit."

Only 10 percent of kids survive what Payton went through, but it wasn't her time to go. Her dad insisted. And so did Dr. Burhkart, or Dr. B as Payton calls him.

"He's brave and smart,” Payton said.

And he has A Heart 4 Kids.

If you'd like to donate to the Children's Hospital Foundation to help keep this and other life-saving medical programs here in Oklahoma, visit CHFKids.com.

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