Lakewood teen 'ready to keep on living' after cardiac arrest

Taylor Knight meets West Metro crew that saved her life

Posted 9/17/18

About eight weeks after surviving a near-death experience, 17-year-old Taylor Knight of Lakewood is back to doing the normal things that teenagers enjoy. She jumps on her trampoline to relieve …

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Lakewood teen 'ready to keep on living' after cardiac arrest

Taylor Knight meets West Metro crew that saved her life

Posted

About eight weeks after surviving a near-death experience, 17-year-old Taylor Knight of Lakewood is back to doing the normal things that teenagers enjoy.

She jumps on her trampoline to relieve stress, and soon she'll get the OK to start driving again.

“I'm incredibly thankful for everyone who helped me,” said Taylor, whose heart unexplainedly stopped July 18. “What this has taught me is to take more time for myself.”

Last week, Taylor and her family met with the West Metro Fire Rescue firefighters who saved her life.

First responders train for anything and everything, said paramedic Peter Neal, one of the six-member team who responded to Taylor's home that day.

“But there's some scenarios you don't see happen every day,” he said. “This is the ideal outcome — not only for her to be alive, but for her to get to enjoy and live her life.”

'A really strange noise'

On the morning of July 18, Taylor's mother Shannon Knight, a Golden teacher, fell while putting up a bulletin board in her elementary school classroom. She was treated for a minor concussion at an urgent care facility, then went home.

Nancy Bybee, Taylor's grandmother, came over to the house to be with Shannon because of her injury.

“Shortly after (Bybee arrived), I heard a really strange noise,” Shannon said. Still a little out of it from her fall, she assumed the noise was the cat vomiting and asked Bybee to check.

Finding nothing, Bybee and Shannon talked for a little while. It was about 10 a.m. by this time, and Taylor was still sleeping in her bedroom — her mother heard her push the snooze button four times.

Shannon and Bybee decided to wake up Taylor.

They discovered Taylor in her bed, turning blue. She was suffering a cardiac arrest — which is an abrupt loss of heart function that occurs when a person begins to breathe abnormally and the heart stops pumping blood through the body.

Shannon started CPR on her daughter and Bybee called 911.

The West Metro Fire Rescue team responded and were able to get Taylor breathing and her heart pumping again. She was then transported to the hospital.

“I actually don't remember any of it,” Taylor said, except “waking up in the hospital.”

Shannon filled her daughter in on all the details a few days later. But it is still unclear why Taylor, a healthy teen, suffered a cardiac arrest. Although there is no immediate familial history of heart issues and more tests need to to be done for a more accurate conclusion, the reason could have something to do with genetics, Shannon said.

“Hopefully,” Shannon said, “her heart will never do that again.”

On Sept. 11, Taylor and her family met the West Metro firefighters and paramedics who saved her life. They are Capt. Steve Kornegay; Mike Simons, an engineer; Chief Doug Hutchinson; Chris Lesnansky, an EMT; and paramedics Dave Dame and Neal.

There's “value in being able to help people,” said Dame, who has been with West Metro for 20 years. “These kinds of things happen, but it's uncommon for it to happen to a 17-year-old. We couldn't be happier with the turnout.”

A senior this year, Taylor will be the third generation of Lakewood High School graduates. After high school, she plans on attending a four-year university in California and pursuing a career with literature.

“It was a big life-changing event for me,” she said. “I'm ready to keep on living, because that I can do.”

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