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Sprint Fidelis – A Letter From a Patient

8 March 2012

Dear Medtronic

I just wanted to forward you this letter as I wrote it in response to The Courier Mail’s articles regarding ICDs.  They have never published it nor acknowledged it.

I am grateful to Medtronic for keeping me alive and allowing me to experience so many wonderful opportunities in life.

Kind Regards,

From: louissa
To: murryd
Subject: Medtronic ICD
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2011 19:31:09 +1100

Hi David,
I read your Sunday report with great interest.  Like Janelle I have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and a Medtronic ICD.  I received my ICD after the last time I died, 13 years ago.  I was 23 years old.  Like Janelle I really struggled to come to terms with a chunk of metal in my left breast and after it activated and knocked me to the ground, I was too frightened to walk to my letterbox by myself.  I even begged my Specialist to remove it. 

However, when it came down to it and I weighed up having actually died for 8 minutes along with the increased chances of my dying for good, against allowing the ICD to remain – I decided that I would prefer to live and embrace life with all of its challenges by keeping this amazing device.  It was a major mental shift. 

Since then I have backpacked through South America and Africa with my ICD protecting me.  I have completed a Masters in Educational Studies and I have become a specialist teacher of children with disabilities.  I have also (due to this miracle machine) had a baby – he is now 6 years old.  He likes to tell people that I am like a BMW who has to have a battery change every few years! 

My son has a 50% chance of inheriting my cardiac condition and may require an ICD himself as he gets older.  I will encourage him to accept an ICD if this happens as I would much rather have him alive with an ICD; than preventably dead.  I have taught him to be inspired by the device, not frightened of it.

My Cardiologist warned me about the possibility of my having a fractured Medtronic lead and I was unlucky enough to experience this, just like Janelle.  I agree with her – it is frightening, emotionally distressing and makes you wholly dependent on others.  The surgery itself is invasive and painful.  But you get to stay alive…

I can feel my natural heartbeat all of the time (30 beats per minute) and I can also feel my artificial ICD heartbeat pacing away (70 beats per minute) – it feels incredibly peculiar. In addition my every heartbeat is monitored by my device.  I suspect that it is this fusion of technology controlling the most intrinsic, natural and fundamental part of yourself – your own heartbeat, that is so difficult to come to terms with.

I would hate for anyone to even think about having their device removed without considering the other side of the story – that is that having an ICD is a miracle and privilege (unknown in poorer countries) that can and will save your life, something my son, my parents, my siblings, my cousins, friends and of course myself(!) are all most grateful for. 
Most sincerely,

The patient testimonial relates an account of an individual’s response to the treatment.  The individual’s account of her response is genuine, typical and documented.  However, the individual’s response does not provide any indication, guide, warranty or guarantee as to the response other persons may have to the treatment.  The response other persons have to the treatment could be different. Responses to the treatment can and do vary; not every response is the same.

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