The loss of a child is a parents worst nightmare. Our hearts go out to all the family members that have had to endure such a horrific tragedy. The grieving parents of 10 year-old London find solace by keeping her memory alive. Her mother will continue to fight for changes . She knowing time is of the essence in devastating situations like this.
A 10-year-old Michigan girl tragically died from an underlying heart condition as she flew down a 270-foot water slide.
Doctors said it was excitement that killed London Eisenbeis, throwing her heart into an abnormal rhythm and sending her into cardiac arrest while she was in the slide.
‘The slide she went down on has a heartbeat sound at the top that my husband said made it even scarier,’ London’s mother Tina told The Sun.
‘Who would have ever thought she would come out the bottom without one?’
London had waited two years to go on the Super Loop Speed Slide, the biggest slide at Zehnder’s Splash Village in Frankenmuth. The slide has a four-story straight drop with a 360 degree loop. The entire ride lasts 6.9 seconds.
In February 2018, London finally reached the 48-inch minimum and begged her parents to take her to the indoor water park during President’s Day weekend.
Just 45 minutes before going on the slide, London recorded a video with her older sister Eden. ‘We’re going to get some footage of our water slides, so stay tuned for more videos,’ she promised.
Then London was ready to take on the Super Loop Speed Slide, stepping into the pink capsule. ‘London looked at her dad, gave two thumbs up and smiled, went down the slide and came out in cardiac arrest,’ Tina said.
When Tina, who was sitting on the other side of the park, heard the whistle go off she thought some children were just ‘messing around’.
‘But within minutes, I started seeing women looking terrified,’ she said. ‘One woman was walking with two children, grabbing them. She said, “Somebody’s drowned over there”. I kind of got nervous.’ Tina tried to call her husband Jerry, only to realize she had his phone. She ran over to the slide.
‘[Jerry] was looking down and there were sheets up and I knew it was one of my kids,’ she said. ‘It was an awful thing. There were no signs of the condition. She just dropped. The day before, she had been doing flips in the air.’
London was rushed to the hospital where it was discovered she had Long QT syndrome, a heart rhythm disorder that can cause heartbeat palpitations, fainting, drowning, or sudden death. Tina said her daughter, a gymnast, never showed any symptoms.
London was placed on life support and her parents took turns staying with her as the hours turned two days.
The one night we both came home – I was just wanting to take a shower and come back – I got a phone call from my dad who was with her. She’d gone into cardiac arrest again,’ Tina recalled.
After nine days on life support, London had passed away.
WHAT IS LONG QT SYNDROME?
Long QT syndrome is a heart rhythm disorder that can cause heartbeat palpitations, fainting, drowning, or sudden death.
The inherited condition can cause fast and chaotic heartbeats, triggering a sudden fainting spell or seizure.
If the heart beats erratically for too long, the condition can also cause sudden death.
The condition is treatable with medication to prevent erratic heart rhythm. Other cases may benefit from surgery or an implantable device.
But many people with Long QT syndrome don’t show any signs or symptoms. They might only become aware of it due to an ECG, family history, or genetic testing results.
Source: Mayo Clinic
‘I would have taken her home with the brain damage but I’m glad she made that choice for us,’ Tina said.
‘She fought for nine days in the hospital, then she gained her angel wings.’
Days later, London was laid to rest in the dress she would have worn at her school’s father-daughter dance, which was held the very same day as her funeral.
‘I didn’t have a chance to buy shoes,’ Tina said. ‘She looked like an angel with her dress and no shoes. She really did look like a sleeping beauty.’
Tina said life has been an ‘ongoing nightmare’ without London, revealing that she cries herself to sleep every night.
But the devastated mother wants to make sure no family has to experience her pain.
Tina has since trained to become an instructor for the American Heart Association and has launched a foundation to help grant defibrillators to the community.
A defibrillator delivers a dose of electric current to the heart that helps it re-establish the normal rhythm.
No defibrillators were used during London’s cardiac arrest at the water park. That’s something Tina wants to change.
But the devastated mother wants to make sure no family has to experience her pain. ‘You have to respond, you don’t have time to wait,’ she said. ‘I think people are afraid of defibrillators, but they’re very easy to use. They’re what is needed to bring back the rhythm.’
Tina and her sister, Dr Kristina Nikolakeas, are currently writing legislation that would require genetic testing for heart defects at birth, according to WJRT. She is also working to make AED drills (also known as sudden cardiac arrest drills) mandated in schools across Michigan.
Tina joined forces with Jennifer Shea, who manages the student heart check program at a local hospital, for the cause. ‘What we want them to be able to do is to respond with the AED in an appropriate amount of time, which is at best three minutes,’ Shea said. ‘We have multiple fire drills each year in school and the last time a child died in school because of a fire was in 1927.
‘And so, that takes a lot of coordination and it’s something that you really need to practice.’
While London is still always on her mind, Tina said she knows she needs to find the strength to continue to fight for change in her daughter’s honor.
‘Even though I have to be going through this right now, at least in her name, let’s save some other children.’