Weather Forecast


Defibrillator vest saves woman's life

Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -An Underwood, Minnesota woman has a "vest" to thank for saving her life.2 / 2

Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -An Underwood, Minnesota woman has a "vest" to thank for saving her life.

78-year old Sharon Sullivan suffered a heart attack recently.

After bypass surgery, Sanford sent her home with something called, a "LifeVest."

It is "peace of mind" for the patient and family, while doctors determine the next plan.

Sharon Sullivan, LifeVest user: "I feel great, feel really well."

Sharon Sullivan has survived a long winter, a heart attack, and a close brush with death.

Sullivan: "It had been going on for so long and I was so miserable."

Following bypass surgery here at Sanford following the heart attack, specialists sent a LifeVest home with Sharon. It is a wearable defibrillator, worn by patients 24-7 who are at risk of having another heart attack because of a life threatening heart rhythm.

Dr. Christopher Pierce, Sanford cardiologist: "It is like an insurance policy, in that in case you go into a bad heart rhythm and it can detect that and deliver a shock."

And Sharon had been home in Underwood one day when the vest she was wearing proved its worth.

Sullivan: "Suddenly I was not there and the vest worked immediately and brought me back."

The Sullivans live in rural Otter Tail County. Advanced Life support is miles from home. And so this vest, lightweight but powerful, shocked Sharon back to life.

Jourdan Sullivan, Sharon's husband: "Credit that vest for saving her life, no question about it."

She now wears a permanent defibrillator. No need for the vest, just a testimony how it works, and works well.

Sharon Sullivan: "I think it is great."

The Sullivans say they hope their story will prompt smaller, rural hospitals to invest in the life saving vests.

We have made a special link for more info on the LifeVest at

Kevin Wallevand

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia and the Middle East. He is an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

(701) 241-5317