Phoenix father urges testing after daughter collapses from genetic heart condition

According to the NIH, nine out of every ten sudden cardiac arrests that happen outside a hospital are deadly.
Published: May. 1, 2023 at 5:45 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - One Phoenix father is calling on parents to have their children tested for genetic heart conditions. Last week Matt Midkliff’s daughter suffered a sudden cardiac arrest just minutes into soccer practice.

Usually, these tests aren’t covered by insurance, but one Valley nonprofit is making them accessible. “It’s a big step relative to where we were three days ago, even 12 hours ago,” said Midkliff. His daughter Pyper is beating the odds. “As of the last hour, she’s talking, asking questions,” he said. Pyper has a genetic heart condition, something she was born with. However, her condition went undiagnosed. It was not detectable in sports or her physicals.

“23,000 children in our country die every year. You don’t want it to be yours. Get their hearts checked,” said Sharon Bates, founder of the Anthony Bates Foundation. Bates lost her son, Anthony, to a sudden cardiac arrest 23 years ago. At the time, Anthony was playing football for Kansas State. “He just finished a workout in the summer at the weight room and got in his car and had a sudden cardiac arrest,” Bates said.

Since his passing, she’s made it her mission to provide affordable heart screening for young athletes like Pyper. “It doesn’t always show up on an EKG, that’s why the ultrasound is so important to heart screenings. If they went to a doctor or a hospital for a heart screening, it would be $2,500 out of pocket for a heart screening and our doctors don’t charge us for reviewing our screening results which help us keep our screenings really low,” she said.

Bates provides life-saving answers for only $40. The Anthony Bates Foundation says that one out of every seven people screened has a heart issue, and one in every 40 screened has one that could be life-threatening.

Pyper is alive and doing well, thanks to a teammate’s mom, who quickly jumped into action and performed life-saving CPR. “It’s a really great idea to get certified but it’s what saved my kids life without a doubt,” Midkiff said.

According to the NIH, nine out of every ten sudden cardiac arrests that happen outside a hospital are deadly. Phoenix Children’s Hospital says it’s typically quality CPR, like what Pyper got, that will determine whether someone lives or dies. If you would like to get CPR certified, click here.