PaperTexture - Julieta Valdes

Julieta Valdes

Julieta Valdes

Julieta, an elite volleyball player had been monitored by a cardiologist for arrhythmias since birth, but that never held her back from doing anything.

On May 3, 2020, Julieta, 16, collapsed in cardiac arrest while working out at home with her sister. Not knowing what was happening, her sister screamed for her mom upstairs and quickly called 911. The 911 dispatcher guided her sister on how to perform CPR until EMS arrived approximately 6 minutes later. Her mother and sister watched as EMS responders worked to bring her back after approximately 23 minutes without a pulse.

She was transported to the hospital where she became unstable again due to the trauma caused by the vigorous resuscitation procedure. Because of this, doctors made the decision to put her in a medically induced coma and performed an emergency Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) procedure. The ECMO machine pumped and oxygenated Julieta’s blood outside the body, allowing her heart and lungs to rest.

After Julieta came out of the medically induced coma and ECMO, she had surgery to place an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). After this surgery, and when she thought that she was close to going home, Julieta developed pancreatitis leaving her in unimaginable pain.

She spent a total of 3 weeks at the hospital; 2 weeks in the ICU and 1 week in medically induced coma and on ECMO. On May 27th, she got officially cleared to go home to her family.