On May 16th, 2015, Dwayne Mitchell, a Senior at G. Holmes Braddock High School, was found unresponsive by his grandmother. Dwayne's older brother performed CPR until Miami Dade Fire Rescue arrived. Dwayne clinically died several times during the CPR efforts. He was transported to Jackson South Hospital where doctors determined Dwayne went into Cardiac Arrest.
It was later determined that Dwayne had a previosuly undiagnosed heart disease called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW). This heart disease is extremely rare and went undetected, even though Dwayne was a high school athlete and in great shape. Dwayne was taken into the ICU with severe swelling to the entire brain. He was treated in the Intensive Care Unit for ten days, until doctors later determined that there was no more that could be done. At that point, physicians indicated that Dwayne would not survive this ordeal.
Without hesitation, the family sought a second opinion from one of the top neurologists in South Florida. The family was informed that Dwayne's condition was survivable, but the road to recovery would be very long and steep. Since that day, Dwayne missed his high school graduation and spent the following eight months fighting for a second chance at life.
Dwayne was later transferred to Promise Hospital in Miami Lakes, FL, a long-term acute healthcare facility. In the first couple of days after Dwayne was transferred to Promise Hospital, he suffered multiple cardiac episodes. After these episodes, Dwayne was transported to Palmetto Hospital, where doctors successfully performed an ablation procedure which caused his heart to function at a normal rate.
Even though Dwayne's heart had improved, the severe damage that his brain sustained required further intensive treatment and rehabilitation during his path to recovery. After extensive research, the Mitchell family decided to send Dwayne to Atlanta, GA, to receive advanced neuro-rehabilitative and medical services at the Shepherd Center, one of the nation's top rehabilitation hospitals for those afflicted by brain injuries. Dwayne received exceptional care in Atlanta, however, his brain eventually developed increased swelling and infection following surgery. Sadly, Dwayne did not overcome the severe damage to his brain and body. He passed away March 11, 2016 in Atlanta; he will be dearly missed by all whose lives he touched, either in life or through his story.
Help us raise community awareness for congenital heart conditions that can lead to sudden cardiac death, while supporting children and families afflicted by WPW.