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Woman, 35, suffers massive heart attack hours after Bucks won NBA title

By Terry Sater

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    WEST ALLIS, Wisconsin (WISN) — A 35-year-old West Allis woman suffered a massive heart attack the morning after she watched the Bucks win the NBA championship in July.

Months later, she has a message for other women and their families.

Amanda Bainer is a walking miracle. She survived the type of heart attack that kills nine out of 10 people who suffer one like it.

“They heard me fall actually in the bathroom and then came in and started CPR and called 911,” Bainer said.

The night before her massive heart attack, Bainer was out with friends watching the Bucks win the NBA title. That’s the last thing she remembers.

“Do you think it was the effect that Giannis has on a lot of women?” WISN 12 News reporter Terry Sater asked her.

“He’s a good basketball player. I said hopefully the Packers don’t go to the Super Bowl. I don’t know what will happen,” Bainer said.

Her heart stopped beating on its own for more than half an hour.

“They weren’t exactly sure how long I had been without oxygen, so that was definitely something they were worried about as they were trying to bring me back,” Bainer said.

“Less than 10% of people survive to that point,” said Dr. William Fischer, a cardiothoracic surgeon for Aurora Health Care.

Fischer helped save Bainer’s life after paramedics rushed her to St. Luke’s.

Doctors first used a heart stent and then what’s called an ECMO machine to help Bainer survive.

“That stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. And basically, depending on the configuration you have set up, it can either be support for the lungs or heart and lungs. And in this case, it was the heart and lungs for her,” Fischer said.

After two days, Bainer’s heart kicked in, but she said it’s been a slow recovery. She finished cardiac rehab right before Thanksgiving.

“How do you feel now?” Sater asked her.

“I feel great,” Bainer said.

She has a message for other women.

“I don’t really remember having chest pains or anything like that. But as women, I know a lot of times we worry about other people — our children and our families and all that. Just everyone once in a while have to slow down and take care of yourself,” Bainer said.

Bainer said she’s especially thankful she can celebrate the holidays this year.

Bainer is back to working her job as an occupational therapist helping care for others in a nursing home.

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