Tracey Conway

When comic actress Tracey Conway collapsed during a live taping of the hit TV show “Almost Live,” audience members thought it was just part of the show. “A hundred people laughed at me. They assumed it was an actor’s pratfall,” Conway says. It wasn’t.

At a little after 10 p.m. on Jan. 21, 1995, Conway experienced sudden death cardiac arrest, an erratic heart arrhythmia that gives no warning and if untreated is virtually always fatal. “I had no breath, no blood pressure and no pulse.” The “Almost Live” cast knew Conway’s nose dive wasn’t in the script and thus began the chain of events that saved her life: a 911 call, citizen CPR from a volunteer firefighter who happened to be in the audience, a swift response from Medic One, airway ventilation and, ultimately, defibrillation.

At 10:19 p.m., after six shocks, Conway finally had a heartbeat again. She had literally died and come back to life.

I lost my only brother to a heart attack and it might possibly be because he lived in another state where they couldn’t give him the kind of emergency care he needed, when he needed it,” says Conway. “Every time a Medic One unit passes me on the street I say ‘God bless you.’ If it hadn’t been for them, I would be dead.”