Heart attack survivor thanks those who brought her back to life

A young Myrtle Beach woman is celebrating a miraculous outcome to a near-tragedy.

On May 14, 2012, Katie John died.

One year and one day later, she returned to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center Wednesday to thank the doctors and nurses who helped her cheat death.

"It's been a really amazing year of life. I just think every day is a gift," John said.

John had an undetected condition known as QT syndrome, an electrical heart disorder.

One day, her husband found her on the floor, not breathing. He started CPR and called 911.

Paramedics shocked her with a defibrillator, and when she got to the emergency room, Dr. Scott Coradi decided she needed therapeutic hypothermia.

That's when the patient is put under cooling blankets to lower the core body temperature and preserve brain function.

It worked for Katie John. Really worked.

"She woke up a little over a day later and other than some minor setbacks in the beginning, is back to her normal self," said Carodi.

Doctors and EMTs rarely get a chance to meet those whose lives they save. It feels pretty good when they do.

"It's not doing the job for the thanks, just doing our job, basically," said Lt. Russell Smith, one of the first EMTs to come to John's aid.

"It did work in this instance and it's great to see her and her family doing so well," said cardiologist Dr. Billy Jackson

Today, the 34-year-old mother of two who was clinically dead for close to eight minutes is very much alive. She and her husband are adopting a third child, a teenager from Eastern Europe.

John has a new pacemaker to help insure this doesn't happen again. And she struggles to find the right words to say to her doctors and nurses.

"There's really no way to adequately thank them, but I'm doing my best."

One way she said thank you was to bake cookies. Heart-shaped, of course.