A 16-year-old Hugo dancer was running up the stairs for a quick costume change at a recital in June when she collapsed to the floor and went into cardiac arrest.

After a two-week stay in the hospital and two major surgeries two days apart, Kaylyn Rosewell’s recovery is worthy of the term “miracle” used by the nurses and doctors who tended to her at Children’s Hospital of Minneapolis.

All Kaylyn remembers about June 2 is the first recital at the University of Northwestern and a picnic in between shows, despite making it more than halfway through the second show.

Kaylyn, the daughter of Todd and Rebecca Rosewell of Hugo, will be a senior at White Bear Lake High School this fall. She was first exposed to dance after her mother put her in a class when she was 3. “I absolutely hated it,” Kaylyn said. While in second grade, Kaylyn had a change of heart and convinced her mom to let her try dancing again, which she stuck to this time. She has danced at Larkin Dance Studio in Maplewood since she was 8 years old.

Rebecca was helping out in the dressing room when she noticed her daughter wasn’t quite acting like herself. “We have a TV monitor so we can keep track of the show and know where we are at. I was watching and wondering why she was being so lazy — something was wrong. She looked super tired and she just wasn’t being herself,” Rebecca explained.

Kaylyn then had trouble making it upstairs for a quick costume change. Initially, Rebecca thought she was overheated, or perhaps her daughter’s asthma was acting up. “She started wobbling, and her eyes started rolling back in her head. That’s when I knew someone needed to get a nurse,” Rebecca said.

Kaylyn went into cardiac arrest. Fortunately, a doctor, a nurse and an EMT all happened to be sitting in the audience and responded immediately to begin chest compressions. AED shocks were also administered. The 911 dispatcher warned that the closest ambulance was 20 minutes away and the next closest was 40 minutes away.

Roseville Fire Chief Tim O’Neill confirmed later that police and fire personnel from multiple agencies arrived on the scene in about four minutes. The ambulance took more than 20 minutes to arrive, longer than normal. He said that under state law, the agencies that responded to the call were not allowed to transport patients.

Kaylyn was taken to the pediatric cardiovascular intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. Doctors discovered Kaylyn had a patent foramen ovale (PFO), or a hole in the heart, that didn’t close the way it should have after birth. Doctors also discovered Kaylyn has an anomalous left coronary artery from the right coronary sinus — simply put, a heart defect.

“Basically, an artery was displaced. They normally find this in elite athletes once they are 16,17, 18,” Rebecca explained. “Her artery was between two ventricles, and because her heart was under so much stress from the day, it had shut off that artery. That’s why her heart stopped (twice).”

Both of those conditions were corrected following a four-hour open chest surgery. Kaylyn is still awaiting the results to see if she has arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), a heartbeat rhythm issue. As a safety precaution, two days after the open chest surgery Kaylyn underwent a second surgery to put in an implantable cardiovascular-defibrillator (ICD) to protect her if she does have ARVC or goes into cardiac arrest again.

It has been a stressful spring for the Rosewell family. Kaylyn’s father suffered a major stroke at the age of 45 six weeks before Kaylyn’s scare. Rebecca had to take care of her husband and daughter simultaneously but is thankful she had help from family and friends. “We have kind of been through the ringer as far as crazy health emergencies that were super close together, things that normally cause death or permanent damage, and they both came out with relatively nothing, for the most part,” Rebecca said.

Kaylyn is still recovering from the surgical procedures and attends physical therapy once a week. Even though she can’t go back to dancing just yet, she was able to travel with her studio to nationals in Las Vegas June 28-July 6. While there, she also found out what an earthquake feels like — twice.

“Hopefully we will have a pretty normal senior year and get her off to college like a normal kid,” Rebecca said. After graduating from high school, Kaylyn hopes to attend the University of Minnesota - Duluth to pursue a degree in education and become a member of the dance team.


Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or

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