Woman’s heart stops at sister’s wedding

News|October 13th 2017

A wedding is supposed to be all about you and the person you are marrying. You two are the centre of attention and any attempt to hog the limelight is surely a selfish thing to do, right?

Not necessarily.

One 34 year-old woman quickly became the most talked about person at her sister’s wedding when she collapsed following cardiac arrest. As maid of honour on her sister’s big day, she walked down the aisle without a problem and utterly unaware that her heart’s rhythm had become dangerously irregular and was about to stop. Although she has no memory of doing so now, she apparently told people she was feeling dizzy so she sat down and placed her head in a bridesmaid’s lap.

Speaking to the BBC, she said:

“People realised there was something wrong as I didn’t stand for the bride and I started breathing in an irregular way.”

One of the guests figured out what had happened and began to perform CPR while an ambulance was called. The bride, who later described the experience as “surreal, like a nightmare”, was taken from the room along with the rest of the people in attendance.

The woman was soon taken to a hospital where she was put into an induced coma. Meanwhile, her sister sent the 115 guests home. All she wanted to do at that stage was get out of her gown and see her maid of honour. What was supposed to be the best day of her life turned out to be the worst, she told the BBC, adding that she felt she was “about to fall off the edge of the world”.

A few days after the dramatic turn of events, the 34 year-old asked her sister if the wedding had gone ahead. When she was informed that it had not, she felt “really bad” about what had happened.

Her heart has now returned to normal and she has had a defibrillator fitted as “insurance” against another such event. Although she has been treated, doctors “don’t know why it happened” she said.

The almost-bride still plans to go ahead with the wedding but only when her sister is well enough.

You often hear stories of weddings going awry but this one certainly stands out. There was no malice here, just an unexpected set of circumstances. In fact, the woman credits her sister’s wedding with saving her life because it put her in close proximity to a guest who was able to perform CPR.

Weddings are widely regarded as events that celebrate the human heart. When the bride eventually does get married, it will no doubt take on a literal meaning as well as the usual symbolic one.

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