Giving Back

The Roneet Carmell Memorial Endowment Fund

After my wife Roneet passed away suddenly in October 2018, I made the decision to honor her by establishing the Roneet Carmell Memorial Endowment fund at UCI Medical Center benefiting the exemplary work of Dr. Yama Akbari a world-renowned neurologist who provided invaluable consultation to help us make some very difficult decisions regarding Roneet’s care.

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Dr. Yama Akbari

Dr. Yama Akbari and Gary Carmell

Dr. Akbari’s work is deeply involved in understanding how the brain and the body respond to cardiac arrest and if there are ways to intervene more quickly so that the outcomes can be better. Here are some sobering facts:

  • Over 550,000 people in the USA alone suffer sudden (unexpected) cardiac arrest each year
  • 60% of these occur out of the hospital (e.g. at home or a public place)
  • 40% occur inside the hospital (often in the emergency room or ICU)

For the out-of-hospital cases, about 1/3 of them are successfully resuscitated with CPR (e.g. Roneet’s case) by EMT/paramedics and are transported to a hospital by ambulance. But among these 1/3 that make it to a hospital after successful CPR, only a fraction (about 1/3 of this 1/3) make it out of the hospital alive (i.e. discharged to a nursing facility or to home) while the rest pass away in the hospital. So overall, among all the people who suffer cardiac arrest outside of the hospital, only about 10% of them actually survive. Most of these survivors who are discharged home have some neurological deficits but some do well and lead a meaningful life with little to no deficits.

Dr.  Akbari’s research focuses on not only treating patients who make it to the hospital after successful CPR but also towards directly improving CPR, whether CPR is performed inside the hospital or outside the hospital. His dream is to use his team’s most recent discovery, which is in the process of being published, to eventually build gadgets and a resuscitation kit to improve CPR capability for EMT/paramedics when they arrive on scene to treat people like Roneet. With funding his lofty research goals hope to buy an extra few minutes of protecting the brain while EMT/paramedics are treating a patient and transporting the patient to the hospital. This means that Dr. Akbari’s research has implications for far more than the 300,000-350,000, estimated above, it may become possible to save lives that currently have no chance and never make it to the hospital. The only people that his research would have no benefit for are the patients who suffer cardiac arrest for prolonged periods to the point where they are found down far too late and the brain damage is irreversible. But in this day and age, such patients are a small minority due to bystanders/loved ones immediately calling 911 and some bystanders being able to do basic CPR until EMT/paramedics arrive on the scene.

If you would like to join me in supporting the vital work of Dr. Yuma Akbari use the link below to make a donation in Roneet’s honor.

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Thank you for your support!

Below is the complete video from the Inaugural Roneet Carmell Memorial Lecture – May 23, 2019. You see Dr. Akbari’s presentation and hear Yama explain his research in detail. 


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