EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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March 12, 2013

Salem teen thankful for firefighters who saved her life


But they did.

“They literally started her heart again and they stayed with us all the way to the hospital,” the grateful mother said. “It was amazing.”

Kyleigh was rushed to Holy Family Hospital in Methuen and later transferred to Children’s Hospital in Boston, where it took a week before doctors reached a diagnosis.

Kimberly and her husband, Todd, were afraid the eldest of their three daughters suffered heart and brain damage. But testing revealed she recovered 100 percent, Kimberly said.

“She came out clear,” Kimberly said. “It was truly a miracle.”

But the teenager required a five-hour operation, led by Dr. Doug Mah, to correct the problem with her heart, Kimberly said. There is still a 10 percent chance she could experience the same trouble again in the next year, the mother said.

If Kyleigh gets through the next 12 months without a problem, she’s expected to be OK, Kimberly said.

Kyleigh’s maternal grandmother was diagnosed with the same condition, but had never had any problems. The Niziaks’ two other daughters — Taylor, 14, and Brenna, 12, — have been tested as well. Brenna has been cleared, but Taylor is being monitored for three weeks, Kimberly said.

Kyleigh, who is planning to become a nurse, recently returned to her classes at Salem High, but on a limited basis. She said she expects to graduate in June as scheduled.

In the meantime, she still plans to perform a dance routine at a Boston Celtics game later this month.

Kyleigh also plans to take an emergency medical training course, so like the Salem firefighters, she, too, can help someone in need.

Breen said he was proud of his crew.

“They certainly saved her life,” he said.

The crew included Lt. Craig Lemire, firefighter/paramedic Patrick Swanson, firefighter Samuel Lutner, Lt. Lawrence Best, firefighter Ryan Gott, firefighter/paramedic Kennett Colby and firefighter/paramedic Michael Galipeau.

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