Local teen who suffered cardiac arrest at school thanks lifesaving team

Aiden Williamson: ‘All these amazing people were able to bring me back.’

SPRINGBORO — A few minutes earlier, Aiden Williamson, 16, a junior at Warren County Career Center in Lebanon, was standing in class packing his school bag.

That’s the last thing he remembered about that January morning until he woke up in the hospital.

“All black from there,” Aiden said, trying to recall the order of events of that fateful day.

After Aiden suffered a cardiac arrest, he received CPR treatments from three Career Center fire instructors. Then Clearcreek Twp. EMS arrived, used an AED and got his heart started again on the way to Atrium Medical Center’s Level III Emergency Trauma Center in Middletown.

There, he was treated by Dr. Ryan Babienco.

“When a kid comes in after a cardiac arrest, it really gets your attention,” Babienco said. “When you have a kid like this, you feel there has to be something to do next. There has to be a reason for this to happen. I was using all I could think about. I was throwing everything and the kitchen sink to help this.”

When Aiden’s parents, Joshua Williamson and Chelsea Viox, drove to Atrium, they weren’t told of the severity of their son’s medical condition. They found him lying in the emergency room lifeless.

“It’s the worst thing you’ll ever want to see as a parent,” said Williamson, a Cincinnati firefighter who lives in Monroe.

So they stood at the end of the bed and pleaded for their son to wake up.

“They always tell you, ‘You got to talk to them. They hear you.’ I did, and I started talking to him and rubbing his hair, saying, ‘You got to wake up. You got to fight,’” Williamson said, his voice cracking.

After showing signs of life, Aiden was flown to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where he was in the ICU for nine days.

He returned to his engineering and robotics classes at the Career Center in February, one month after going into cardiac arrest. No one knows why he suffered a cardiac event.

On Friday afternoon, many of those credited with saving Aiden’s life attended an emotional ceremony at Clearcreek Twp. Fire Station 21. He hugged each of them and presented them with a certificate and a Challenge Coin, a token of his appreciation.

“It just makes me so thankful that I’m actually here, and all these amazing people were able to bring me back,” Aiden said. “I can’t thank them enough. They’re all my best friends now. I wouldn’t be here with them.”

During the ceremony, Jordan Jeffries, EMS coordinator for Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, said those who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests have less than a 7% survival rate.

“This is super rare,” Jeffries said, noting Aiden retained his ability to function normally. “You need to celebrate that every day.”

Aiden’s mother, who lives in Maineville, said he suffered a cardiac arrest “at the right place at the right time.”

Aiden said getting a second chance at life has changed his perspective.

“Life can be so short, and you don’t really realize it until something like this happens and you’re like, ‘Woah,’” he said. “Life can be so short. You don’t know when it will end.”

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