Teen encourages everyone to get CPR certified after surviving a drowning, cardiac arrest

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 9:16 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Just days before she turned 17, Morgan Newman, now a student at the University of Tennessee, survived drowning at a pool party where she also went into cardiac arrest.

Morgan’s mother Mandy Newman said the day Morgan drowned she was blue and unresponsive. Someone had already started performing CPR on her daughter when she realized what was going on.

“We heard them yell for us to come back to the pool and we didn’t know what was going on but when we got up there, they had already pulled her out,” Mandy Newman said.

Morgan went into cardiac arrest at the party while in the pool and she began drowning. Her friend pulled her from the water and her pastor did CPR for around 20 minutes until paramedics arrived.

“After I went under the water, all I can remember and seeing a lot of the color yellow and then waking up in the hospital bed once I pulled out my breathing tube and I turned to my mom and asked her like what happened like why am I here,” said Morgan.

Mandy said it broke her heart to have to tell her daughter it was her heart that caused the drowning.

“Well, I didn’t want her to be more upset than she was and I just told her, she’d had a little accident that she was okay that she just had a little accident. I explained it to her later but she she said ‘it was my heart’ and I said ‘yeah it’s your heart’.”

Morgan was born with several holes in her heart, a congenital heart defect. She had to have her first heart surgery at 5-weeks-old and then another one when she was 11 and a third one when she was 15.

Mandy said sudden cardiac arrest wasn’t something on their radar.

“The best diagnosis that we’ve had is that because of all the scar tissue in her heart as a result of multiple heart surgeries that kind of made her electrical path go haywire at that particular time and that’s why she went into cardiac arrest and unfortunately she happened to be in the water at the time, and drown,” said Mandy.

Doctors told the Newmans it was CPR that saves Morgan’s life.

“Definitely learn CPR. Get CPR certified because it can save a life and you never know when you’re going to need it,” said Morgan.

Morgan now a student and member of a sorority at the University of Tennessee said she is doing well. She wears a device that goes off when her heart rate it abnormal, sending an alert to her family.

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