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Where Noah received life-saving care

When Noah stopped breathing in the middle of the night, first responders and the emergency team at Timpanogos Regional Hospital saved his life.

December 11, 2020
Noah and Korin Johnson pose in front of a row of townhouses.

One week after their one-year wedding anniversary, Korin Johnson woke to sounds of her 22-year-old husband Noah gasping, grunting and moaning. She lifted her sleepy head from his chest and gave him a nudge.

“I started bumping his chest and pushing a little to wake him up. I assumed it was a bad dream because I didn’t know to expect anything different,” Korin said. “When he didn’t respond, I pushed harder, but the noises just got louder. I started freaking out a little, so I sat up and turned on the light — that’s when I saw that Noah was unresponsive.”

Korin called 911. While the dispatcher alerted first responders, Korin and the dispatcher monitored Noah’s shallow, sporadic breathing.

“We waited 10 or 15 seconds between a breath. Then the dispatcher told me to pull Noah off the bed and onto a hard surface, but he’s 6 ft. 8 in. tall and was dead weight. I couldn’t move him much,” Korin said. “In the process of trying to move him, I noticed he had stopped breathing and his face was turning blue.”

Thankfully, within just 3 minutes from dialing 911, two police officers arrived at the Johnson’s basement home.

“I remember the first officer went immediately to the bedroom and called out to the second officer, ‘I’m not feeling a pulse. I’m starting CPR!’ I burst into emotions,” Korin said. “The second officer had me go upstairs and direct the others toward our place.”

One ambulance, one firetruck and four police cars soon parked in front of the Johnsons home — representing the intense team effort happening within. Before racing Noah to Timpanogos Regional Medical Center, paramedics used a defibrillator to shock the heart and bring breath — and life — back to Noah.

Timpanogos Regional Medical Center ER teams stands ready 24/7 to provide fast, compassionate healthcare, whether for minor injuries or complex medical emergencies

Once at Timpanogos ER, Noah lay motionless on the exam table while a specialized emergency team of nurses and doctors whizzed around him.

“They told us that he was still alive, but that could change at any moment. He was as responsive as the bed he was laying on. That said, the doctors had hope and were determined to fight for him and find out how to help him,” Korin said.

Noah was transferred to ICU, where highly trained nurses intubated and monitored him. He remained in a deep coma for three days.

Compassionate, connected care: Timpanogos teams keep families in touch with the patients during COVID protocols

Due to COVID safety protocols, only once visitor sat at Noah’s bedside each 24-hour period. While Noah’s father served as the appointed visitor in the ICU, he connected Korin via video calls, so she could see, speak to, and play piano for her husband. When not at the hospital, Korin also stayed in close contact with nurses attending Noah.

“There were a lot of calls! Those nurses were quick to be there and answer questions. They wanted us to know he was being taken care of as much as possible,” Korin said. “And the doctors — they worked really hard to figure this out. Noah was a healthy 22-year-old who randomly went into cardiac arrest, and they weren’t going to let that happen again!” Korin said.

A team of expert cardiologists collaborated and determined the root of Noah’s near-death experience: J wave syndrome. Produced by aggravating abnormal electrical activity within the heart, J wave syndrome frequently causes sudden cardiac death. Noah was very lucky.

“Usually with this syndrome, the person dies in their sleep. Noah survived because I was cuddled up to him and I woke up, and because help arrived so quickly,” Korin said.

“Cuddling saves lives,” the couple says in unison; and while the newlyweds laugh about their pro-snuggle slogan, they’ve lived through the sobering and scary experience behind the words

To ensure that the J wave doesn’t stop Noah’s heartbeat permanently, physicians surgically placed an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) device in Noah’s chest. The ICD can deliver electrical shocks to jumpstart the heart as needed, and the device collects data for physicians to evaluate.

“It’s surreal,” Noah said. “I can feel my chest and feel the ICD in there, but I almost forget about it. But I’ll never forget the hospital and the teams who saved my life.”

United in saving lives: Community resources team up to care

Noah and Korin recognize that many people and teams collaborated to provide his exemplary life-saving treatment, and they don’t take that for granted.

“It’s humbling to see how much people care and help. Even if this was their job, the amount of passion they put into it was noticeable,” Noah said. “It showed me, and continues to show me, that we are never alone in anything we go through. It’s absolutely incredible how the hospital crews, paramedics, police officers, family and friends rallied around me. My life was on the line, and they did everything possible to save me.”

December 11, 2020
Timpanogos Regional Hospital

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