“It only takes seconds before a victim has no pulse”
It was during a basketball game that high school senior and class valedictorian, Ryler, collapsed without warning. He went into sudden cardiac arrest, the unexpected loss of heart function, breathing, and consciousness. Triggered by an electrical malfunction in his heart that caused an irregular heartbeat called arrhythmias, the pumping action in Ryler’s heart was disrupted, making it impossible for blood to flow from his heart to his brain, lungs, and other vital organs. It takes only seconds before a victim of sudden cardiac arrest becomes unresponsive and has no pulse. Without treatment, death occurs within minutes.
Ryler was admitted to Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women & Children, where he would stay for about two months during his recovery. Throughout his hospitalization, Ryler had surgery for a G-tube and pacemaker placement. Ryler’s devastating episode of sudden cardiac arrest triggered seizures and was accompanied by hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, a lack of oxygen resulting in subsequent brain damage. This caused him to need the full spectrum of rehab services, including cognitive, physical, occupational, and speech therapies.
Ryler lost his ability to walk and talk initially, but has since relearned these skills. His Child Life specialist calls Ryler’s recovery nothing short of “amazing” and “while the road ahead will certainly be filled with challenges, Ryler was able to attend the hospital’s prom and then walk at his high school graduation,” she continued. This was an especially astonishing feat considering he had just re-learned to walk the month prior.
Ryler left Kapiʻolani Medical Center to receive treatment at a rehabilitation hospital. He told the staff that “the first thing he wants to do when he returns home is play basketball – now that is bravery!” Full of positive energy and boundless determination, Ryler takes everything in stride and continues to approach his recovery process in the same manner.
It is with great enthusiasm that we honor Ryler’s brave perseverance by recognizing him as the Hero of the Month for Kids Wish Network and Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women & Children. Way to go, Ryler!