Putting her heart into it

A defibrillator machine saved Costa Mesa resident Angela Edgerly’s life after her heart stopped beating while undergoing surgery in January at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian.

“I went home and hugged my son after it happened,” Angela, 39, said from the Costa Mesa home she shares with her husband, Chris Edgerly, 5-year-old son, Dylan, and several pets.

“I feel lucky in that I’ve kind of been given a second chance at life,” she said.

A registered nurse at Hoag, Angela is now on a mission to raise money to buy defibrillation machines for schools, day care centers and swimming pools. By making beaded bracelets she sells for $10 apiece, Angela has almost raised the $1,400 she estimates it will cost to buy her first defibrillator.

The automated external defibrillator machines Angela wants to buy are easy-to use, portable units that use computer technology to analyze heart rhythms and administer an electric shock to get the heart started again in case of a cardiac arrest.

Angela has a heart dysrhythmia, or abnormal electrical activity in her heart, which causes it to beat irregularly.

Doctors implanted a pacemaker to regulate Angela’s heartbeat in 2003. She had surgery again in January so doctors could study her heart’s electrical system by inserting a small catheter in to one of her veins. During the procedure, called an electrophysiology study, an electric current is passed through a catheter to test the heart’s electrical system.

Angela’s heart stopped during the procedure and doctors had to use a defibrillator to get it beating again. Under anesthesia, Angela didn’t know what had happened until she was in the recovery room and doctors told her.

“Being in the medical field, it was scary when this happened because I know how close that is,” said Chris, who works with the Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

The two met at Hoag while Chris was working as an emergency medical technician and Angela was volunteering in the emergency room.

Chris’ co-workers with the Disaster Medical Assistance Team have been supportive of Angela’s efforts to purchase defibrillators, buying several bracelets, he said.

“I’ve gotten so much support from friends, co-workers, even patients,” Angela said. “People ask how they can buy a bracelet or make a donation.”

Angela estimates she has made about 600 to 700 bracelets so far.

“She’s really taken what’s happened to her to heart, and I support her 100%,” Chris said.

Before her surgery in January, Angela volunteered her skills as a nurse to go on two back-to-back humanitarian trips last year to Kenya and Rwanda, one sponsored by Hoag and another by Saddleback Church, to give medical aid to needy people there.

She hopes to donate her first defibrillation machine to a clinic in Rwanda, but also wants to give the machines to local schools and day care centers.

“I think you don’t have to go overseas to do good work,” she said. “There’s things that we can do here in the community.”

How To Help

Send donations to:

Angela Edgerly

3026 Babb St.

Costa Mesa, CA 92626


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