Witnessing a loved one collapse to the floor is obviously a traumatic event. Many of us would panic or freeze, completely unsure of what to do. But when Miliaris Santos' 19-year-old brother Nathan fell to the ground in front of her, she knew she couldn't give up.
It was 4 a.m. when she watched Nathan's body slump to the floor, heart stopped, and after calling 911, she was instructed to begin chest compressions.
She said that she saw his "life flash right before [her] eyes," and that she could tell he was gone because of his own eyes having gone blank, but she wouldn't give up.
It took ten minutes for the paramedics to arrive, but the entire time she continued chest compressions, forcing his heart to pump. "That's when I started the compressions, going as deep as a could, with both of my hands on top of his chest," Miliaris revealed.
Paramedic arrived, but even they couldn't bring Nathan back right away. By the time they finally got Nathan's pulse back, he had been legally dead for 45 minutes.
But through it all his sister refused to give up, and she was happy that the paramedics had the same devotion.
"I just kept going, and I didn't stop," Miliaris said. "[The paramedics] didn't give up on him either, they kept trying and trying until they got a pulse."
Nathan was brought back from the brink, or even well past it, and was transported to the Memorial Herman Southwest hospital. While there, they began running tests and discovered that he had an undiagnosed heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome.
"Which is an electrical problem, resulting in rapid heart rhythm and rarely cardiac arrest," the hospital's Dr. Sohail Jalal said.
Luckily for Nathan, he managed to come back without any lasting damage, which is impressive given the amount of time his heart had stopped beating.
Now that Nathan has been diagnosed and is aware of the condition, he feels like he is alive for a reason. "I have a purpose," Nathan said. "That I have a purpose that I need to fulfill, definitely."
But even though he went through something so traumatic, he still has a hard time coming to terms with it. "I don't know. It's just a little weird that I don't really believe it almost," Nathan said. "I don't know. I thought it would feel different after you die."
Miliaris had faith in her brother though, and was certain he would be able to make it through. "I just couldn't see him not making it through, not coming back fighting. Because he was fighting the entire time. And I just helped."
It's absolutely remarkable that she was able to help keep her brother alive and I'm sure their bond will only strengthen now that they have gone through this together.