Ethan Rutherford is your typical 14-year-old boy. He enjoys bowling on his junior league, racing go-karts and working to complete all the requirements to become an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America.
On Jan. 20, his world flipped upside down when he went into sudden cardiac arrest. Ethan and his family had plans to attend church that morning but due to winter weather, the service was canceled. He was excited to tune up the snow blower with his father, Mark Rutherford, but before the two could tackle the heavy snow, Ethan went down.
“I took his winter coat off and tried to feel for a pulse,” said his mother, Erin Rutherford. “I told my husband to start CPR while I call 911.”
Mark was CPR certified 6 months prior to the incident through Ethan’s summer Boy Scouts camp which helped stabilize the young teen before EMS arrived on the scene.
Within 4 minutes, medics arrived at the home and began working on young Ethan, shocking him 4 times until getting his heart back to a normal rhythm. He was rushed to a nearby hospital then transported to Akron Children’s Hospital for additional treatment, but Mother Nature dropped 12 inches of snow that day resulting in some roadblocks during the transport process.
“They had to plow us through the county lines in order to get to the hospital,” said Erin, “and only plowed enough to just get us through in the ambulance.”
Ethan finally arrived safely to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Children’s where Dr. Ian Rossman reassured the Rutherford family when emotions were high. After being on a ventilator, running several tests, working with physical therapy and trying to figure out what may have caused his sudden cardiac arrest, doctors weren’t able to pinpoint why it happened.
“When they took him off the ventilator, they told us just prepare yourself. He might not know who you are and he might not be able to walk or talk. He may have to relearn,” Erin recalled.
After 17 days in the hospital, Ethan surprised everyone by making a full recovery and went home after Dr. John Clark in the Heart Center installed a defibrillator, a device that sends an electric pulse or shock to the heart to restore a normal heartbeat.
“He tells us he is battery powered now,” said Erin.
He has no side effects and is back to his normal day-to-day routine after being in the hospital for 2 weeks. Doctors advised him to steer clear of contact sports which is no problem for this all-star bowler. Ethan has big plan to join the freshman bowling team as he begins high school in the fall.