Teen Thanks Team that Saved His Life During the 11th Annual Northeast Georgia STEMI Summit

Published: Monday, April 8, 2019



GAINESVILLE, Ga. – When Jacob Stevens celebrated Halloween last fall by launching pumpkins during a church event, the high school student thought it was just fun and games. But, when the launcher malfunctioned and a pumpkin hit his chest at point-blank range, the stakes quickly became life and death.

            More than 1,400 medical professionals and first responders crowded into the conference space at Lanier Technical College to hear how Stevens and two other survivors were saved by a rapid, coordinated response system designed to treat heart attack and cardiac arrest patients as quickly as possible.

            “I don’t remember everything that happened that day, but between what I’ve been told and what I experienced during my recovery, I’m amazed at everything that was put in place so I could finally walk out of the hospital,” said Stevens. “I later read a Bible verse on my phone about being saved from death, and that’s exactly what happened to me.”

             Stevens shared his story during the 11th Annual Northeast Georgia STEMI Summit, hosted by Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC).  The Summit brings together paramedics, emergency medical services (EMS) staff, nurses, physicians and other caregivers from across the state to discuss the Northeast Georgia Regional STEMI System – a collaborative effort providing critical care and rapid response for people experiencing severe heart attacks, known as ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarctions (STEMIs), and patients who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

             When it comes to severe heart attacks and cardiac arrest, there are many people – from bystanders to first responders to medical professionals – who play critical roles like links in a survival chain, in treating patients to give them the best chance for survival. In Jacob’s case, the impact from the pumpkin stopped his heart, damaged his lungs and caused cardiac arrest.

             “One of the youth leaders at the church where Jacob was injured performed CPR, and that kept Jacob’s brain alive until first responders arrived and brought him to Northeast Georgia Medical Center,” said J. Jeffrey Marshall, MD, FACC, MSCAI, chairman of The Heart Center of NGMC. “Jacob’s story shows why knowing CPR is so important. It’s the first step in a series of critical activities that must all occur – or we don’t get this good result.”

            Statistics show that patients experiencing out-of-hospital cardiac arrest have a less than 10 percent chance of surviving.  However, when these patients are treated by coordinated care like the STEMI System, their chance of survival increases to greater than 40 percent.

            Learn how to perform CPR in five minutes or less at nghs.com/actnow.

            Learn more about the Northeast Georgia Regional STEMI System at nghs.com/stemi-system or by calling 770-219-3840.



Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is a non-profit on a mission of improving the health of our community in all we do.  Our team cares for more than 800,000 people across the region through three hospitals and a variety of outpatient locations.  Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) has three hospital campuses – NGMC Gainesville, NGMC Braselton and NGMC Barrow – with a total of 713 beds and medical staff members representing more than 50 specialties. Learn more at www.nghs.com.

Photo #1:  Jacob Stevens (center) and his family were reunited with the care team that saved his life at the Northeast Georgia STEMI Summit.