Sudden Cardiac Arrest: A Survivor’s Story

Give her an opportunity, and Pamela Christian will gladly tell you about the day she died.

It all began during an afternoon of tennis with girlfriends. She had been battling stomach problems all morning, a problem she dismissed as indigestion. But after a few practice swings, she started feeling short of breath and lightheaded, too much for the amount of exertion her warmup required.

In a matter of minutes, she began vomiting and collapsed to the ground. A quick-thinking friend called 911. The paramedics’ initial examination quickly shifted into efforts to save her life.

At maximum exertion, a woman Pamela’s size and age would have a heartbeat around 180 beats per minute. Pamela’s heart was beating at nearly 300, despite virtually no physical exertion. The upper and lower chambers of Pamela’s heart were beating erratically and out of sync.

And then she died. Pamela suffered a sudden cardiac arrest, and her heart stopped. Fortunately, the paramedics successfully defibrillated her and saved her life.

It’s been a few years now, and just as vivid as the experience that ushered her into death is what she felt during those moments. She was committed to Christ in life. In death, she was fully aware of being in the center of the sovereignty of God and His care. Nothing else mattered.

To this day, the doctors can offer no medical explanation for why Pamela suffered such an extreme medical crisis. Her weight was not a concern. She didn’t smoke, and there was no history of heart disease in her family. Eight days of testing in the hospital revealed no cholesterol or electrical problems with her heart or other factors that could have triggered her condition.

Yet, one thing was no mystery to Pamela: her confidence in Christ. She felt no regrets about her life – not because of how well she had lived, but because of how the Lord had lived His life through her.

That is why Pamela is happy to share about the day she died to anyone who will listen because she knows that God offers the same gift to those who put their faith and hope in Christ.

Pamela Christian is our guest on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Sudden Cardiac Arrest: A Survivor’s Story.” I hope you’ll join us today to hear her testimony. She handles this serious topic with grace and sprinkles it with humor. Most of all, she shares the hope available to all of us through Christ in light of the one outcome of life we will all face: death.

Join us on your local radio station, online, on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or on our free phone app.

I also invite you to explore our free online booklet called, “Coming Home: An Invitation to Join God’s Family,” which explains what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

We have a CD recording of the broadcast available for a gift of any amount. For more information, call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459) or visit our website.

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