Marcus’ Story

marcusIt was a normal Monday night for Marcus Carter, who was playing in a Westlake High School freshman basketball game. In the middle of the game, he collapsed. Marcus shockingly went into cardiac arrest and quit breathing.

In the stands were David Guillory, a nurse practitioner, and Cindy Fontenot, a pharmacist, who gave immediate medical help to Marcus. Emergency 911 was called rather than taking Marcus to the hospital, and CPR was performed. The fire department, located just across the street from the school, arrived within a few minutes with an automated external defibrillator (AED) device, that was immediately hooked up to Marcus. The AED delivered a shock to resuscitate Marcus’s heart, then instructed for CPR to be performed. “The AED device helped save this young man’s life,” said Ann Simmons, then Director of Cardiology at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital.

Marcus was lucky that Westlake High School is close to a fire station because Calcasieu Parish schools did not have AED devices. Marcus spent a week at St. Patrick Hospital after having an automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator surgically inserted by Dr. Michael Turner, a cardiovascular specialist at the Hospital. Marcus hopes that his story will help raise the awareness of how important it is to have AEDs not only in our local schools, but in all public places.

Since this time, over 33 AEDs have been provided to area schools through the fundraising efforts of Children’s Miracle Network. The goal is to raise enough dollars for all area schools to receive AED devices so that the necessary training can be provided from the Cardiology Clinical Department at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital.


Erica’s Story                         

ericaJames and Shelia had been married for 35 years and were never able to have a child.  They were contacted regarding their interest in becoming a foster family.

When Erica came to their home, she was unloved, unwanted, traumatized, and abused.  Her biological parents provided a less than suitable atmosphere for her early developmental years.    At the age of 3, there were only 2 words she could say, yes and no.  She weighed only 20 pounds.

Erica was placed with James & Shelia as a foster child.  James & Shelia exhausted many options to uncover why she was unable to communicate verbally.

OCS (now the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services) had the Calcasieu Parish School Board do some testing on Erica.  It was determined that she was hearing impaired in her right ear, and she was referred to an Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) specialist.  Erica was diagnosed as having fluid behind the eardrum.  Surgery was scheduled with ENT Associates of Southwest Louisiana, where she was treated by Dr. Susan Boyd and Dr. Keith DeSonier, both of whom are physician champions of CHRISTUS St. Patrick Foundation’s Children’s Miracle Network.

Once the surgical processes were complete, Erica entered into speech therapy at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital. She responded really well.  She gained weight, excelled and grew to love being hugged and kissed.  Due to the successful treatment she received, Erica has overcome the speech development challenges she experienced the first 3 years of her life.  She is now verbal and can communicate needs, wants and feelings, and has an excellent chance of having a full, productive life.