Siri has mom thanks to five community members and PSMEMC


Siri's mom, Brittany Campani was saved by community members

Paths of three people crossed on the afternoon of September 30 in Wicker Park near Sabin School.

For a 35-year-old woman, it meant the difference between life and death. To an 18-month-old girl it meant having her mom beyond that day.

On Friday, Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center (PSMEMC) celebrated Brittany Campani's recovery and honored five people who gave her the opportunity to be put in the hands of cardiac specialists at PSMEMC. 


Becky Ball (l) and Iris Vasquez (r) were the first responders who kept Brittany (c) breathing

Feeling fine and at her normal energy level, Brittany, an IT consultant with Prime Care on the Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center campus, was on her way to pick up her daughter Siri from day care. Talking with her husband Alex on the phone, she felt light headed and tried to reach a fence for support. She didn't make it. She fell to the ground.  

Iris Vazquez, a medical assistant at Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital, was in a car with her mother as they drove near Sabin School at Bell and Hirsch. She saw something that didn't look right and asked her mother to back up. Becky Ball, who lives on Bell, was on her way home. Ball stretched Brittany out and turned her over. Iris called 911 and started CPR. 

Brittany meets first responders
The three women met Friday amid tears as Siri circled around them. Siri's name is Iris spelled backward. (Iris was Britanny's late mother-in-laws' name.) 

Brittany asked Iris "Why did you stop?"  Iris replied, "I have a mom and a sister and I would want someone to do something for them." 

"My paramedics told me that when they hooked me up to a machine, the amount of oxygen that I was breathing was normal. You did such good CPR on me that you were breathing for me," Brittany told Iris and Becky. 

As Brian Hopkins, 2nd Ward Alderman, said about Iris and Becky later, "We don't know in the course of our lives if we will be called by circumstances to step into the shoes of a first responder  to help someone who needs help. They found out and learned that they have what it takes." 


Siri is able to stand with her mom Brittany because of all the people surrounding them. <span>PSMEMC 5-Star award recipients in the front row are:</span> Officer David Alcazara (2nd l), paramedics John Franta and Joseph Johnson, Iriz Vasquez and Becky Ball.

Police and Fire responders
The other three people honored with a PSMEMC Five-Star Community Service Award were Officer David Alcazara from the 14th Police District, 2150 N. California, was on hand when Ambulance 44 from Engine 57, 1244 N. Western Ave.,  rolled up. Paramedics Joesph Johnson and John Franta. Johnson, who is now assigned elsewhere and Franta who was on a madatory shift away from his regular Jefferson Park station, agreed that seeing a 30-some year old woman in cardiac arrest is very unusual. 


Frank Schneider opened the celebration

While Brittany knew that, like many in her family, she had hyper-tension, no one knew that she had a weak heart. 

In the PSMEMC  Emergency Room, according to Brittany, she "coded and was shocked." In a documentary entitled "Brittany's Story" that was shown at the celebration, hospital staff explained that though she came in a the most critical level, the team knew that they could stabilize her.  Then ICU worked their magic which included cooling her body to induce brain function down the road. 

The end result of all of these heroes and capable medical professionals, Brittany has made a complete recovery and will be delivering another bundle of joy to keep Siri company next April. 

As Alderman Hopkins said, "From our grateful hearts to your healing hands..we thank you." 


Martin Judd

Frank Schneider, PSMEMC ICU Nurse Manger, opened the ceremony and introduced Father  John Adamcio, Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral, 1121 N. Leavitt St., who gave a reflection.

Martin Judd, Presence Health Regional President and PSMEMC's CEO, introduced the preview of the new documentary "Brittany's Story." 

After the viewing, the responders were introduced, with Becky and Iris as surprise guests. Brittany had not met them until Friday. 

In his remarks, Judd related Brittany's story, illustrating that the high degree of teamwork that included neighbors, police, fire department and the Presence team were represented in the inter connected circle logo for Presence. 

The circles represent: patients and residents; family; community; and associates and physicians, while the cross is the symbol of hope connecting them all.



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