Monday, May 20, 2013


In a word, a miracle.

This story has nothing to do with cancer, pink ribbons, me being "pissed off" .....  scanxiety, chemobrain, headlines (mmmmm, maybe a headline), skewed statistics, words like "chronic" being used to describe diseases that are deadly.

It's about a miracle.  And a happy ending.  With a headline ......

It started with an email.  My son was reading an email to me a couple of days ago.  It was sent to him to let him know what was going on with a very good friend, someone he has known for a very long time. The email was addressed to many people so it had a very breezy tone.  His friend was in the hospital, doing just fine as reported by her sister.

"Sounds like no big deal from the email, right?"  I agreed.  He went to the hospital to visit her and it very quickly turned into a Holy SHIT moment as he was told what happened to his friend, Meredith.  Mimi.  When he repeated it to me, I was completely horrified.

The rest of the details emerged when the story was in yesterday's NY Daily News.  I need a Feel Good moment and this wins.  Hands Down.

NFL staffer pronounced dead miraculously revived multiple times before Mother’s Day

Meredith ‘Mimi’ MacKinnon, a special events planner for the NFL, got a blood clot traveling from Indianapolis to New York. Eventually, it lodged in her lung, resulting in stress on her heart and sending her into cardiac arrest. She was twice revived by EMTs and doctors, and later had her body cooled below 90 degrees to save her from brain swelling.

Read more:

There's only one way to describe this against-all-odds medical miracle — a Hail Mimi.

NFL special events planner Meredith MacKinnon awoke last weekend in her East Village apartment with a sharp pain in her leg. She was soon unconscious — without a pulse and unable to breathe on her own.

She stayed that way for 45 minutes as EMTs and doctors performed CPR, twice bringing her back to life. The 31-year-old — known to friends and family as Mimi — was then whisked into surgery before doctors placed her in a deep freeze.

In a finish as dramatic as a Manning-to-Tyree Super Bowl toss, MacKinnon awoke the next evening showing no signs of her death-cheating ordeal.  “Pretty crazy,” she said last week from her room at Beth Israel Medical Center. “I’m a lifeguard. I took CPR. I know that if you’re out for that long, bad things can happen.”

Dr. Ritu Sarin, one of the emergency-room doctors who greeted the ambulance carrying MacKinnon, was stunned to find herself sharing a brownie with Mimi just six days later.  “You have a patient actively dying in front of you,” said Sarin. “She really was. Then she wakes up, and is neurologically intact. This is the kind of case you only see once or twice in your career as an ER doctor. It’s amazing to see her up and walking and talking and doing so good.”

The near-tragedy began May 9, when frequent flier MacKinnon boarded a flight back to the city from Indianapolis. The plane was delayed, and she slept all the way home.  MacKinnon, a seven-year NFL employee, felt lingering pain in her leg all day May 10. She woke up on May 11, the day before Mother’s Day, feeling horrible.

“She was pale and sweating,” recalled sister Christie, 34, who shares an apartment with Mimi. “I called my mom and gave Mimi some juice. And then she passed out. I hung up on Mom and called 911.”

A blood clot from MacKinnon’s leg, likely caused by her air travel, had lodged in her lung. The resulting stress on her heart as Mimi fought for breath sent her into cardiac arrest. “Your heart is pumping, pumping against the clot,” explained Sarin. “It’s like a clog in a drain.”

MacKinnon first went into cardiac arrest inside the ambulance while headed to Beth Israel. She was revived at the hospital — only to go into arrest again.  Christie, who rode in the ambulance with her sister, said doctors provided her with a grim play-by-play. “Because I was the only person there, they were telling me how bad things were,” she recalled. “They told me her heart stopped. They were being very blunt.”

Doctors restored the pulse and put MacKinnon on a ventilator as they treated her with a clot-busting drug. Surgeons then implanted an IVC filter to block any other clots from reaching the heart or lungs.

The next step was a Lambeau Leap of sorts: MacKinnon’s legs and chest were wrapped in special cooling pads used to induce hypothermia. Her body temperature, while not quite at frozen tundra level, was dropped below 90 degrees to prevent any brain swelling.
Then came the hardest part for the MacKinnon family — waiting.

A third sister joined Christie at the hospital, while parents Sue and Peter came in from their Glen Cove, L.I., home. They kept vigil as Mimi remained unconscious through Saturday and into Mother’s Day.  “There was a lot of crying on Saturday,” said mom Sue. And, as it turned out, a lot of laughing on Sunday.

Doctors started bringing Mimi’s body temperature back to normal Sunday evening, a process that can last up to five hours.  Christie and her mom went out to dinner — and Mimi awoke after just 45 minutes. They bolted back to Mimi’s room, unsure of what awaited.

“Then she started cracking jokes,” recalled Christie. “It was more her delivery than the jokes that had everybody laughing. She was very deadpan.”

By the end of the week, McKinnon was walking on her own through the hospital halls. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a bouquet of flowers, and Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson delivered a message of support.

The sad Mother’s Day turned into a joyous celebration, although MacKinnon said she faces more work on the road to recovery. “I’m good — not fine, but better,” she said. “The whole thing has been a little wild.”


  1. What an amazing story!! Glad to see it has a happy ending. Thanks for sharing!!

    Ellen xo

  2. Heather... that about says it all..


    And yes, Ellen, it is amazing. The article in the newspaper if the links work, have photos. She looks fabulous...... Truly a miracle...

  3. WOW!! It was a miracle of sorts. Sometimes things just work out. I am a big NFL fan, and of course a fan of anyone surviving. Me being a 3 time survivor myself.
    Thanks for posting, it's an inspiring story.

    Greg Pierce

    1. Thanks, Greg...

      It is so inspiring. My son shared some little anecdotal moments from his visits. She's most certainly a very special young woman!


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