Family raises concern over response time for medical emergency at Scottrade Center

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) -- A Fenton woman lost her life after suffering from a medical emergency at Scottrade Center Friday night. It happened right before the New Kids on the Block concert.

Jen Steger Giamarino loved New Kids on the Block. The last time she saw them in concert was with her mom as a teenager. Her mother, Linda Steger, recalls, “When everyone would scream for the boys, she would go there and go, ahh, and I would just look at her and smile.”

She was thrilled to see them again, two decades later. Her group of friends snapped a photo at Scottrade Center right before the show, but she never got to see them hit the stage that night.

Jen and her friends were chatting in their seats when she suddenly stopped breathing. Her friends panicked. A nurse sitting a few rows back started doing CPR. Witnesses say it took about 15 minutes for the in-house paramedic to reach the their upper-level section, followed by an EMS team, who came 13 minutes after their initial call.

By this time, the lights had gone out and Nelly, the opening act, began his performance. Witnesses used their cell phone lights to help paramedics see.

The 35-year-old was transported to SLU Hospital. Her mother says, “[The nurse] said there was nothing they could do for her. They tried everything.”

According to her parents, Jen had heart surgery when she was 19, but had no problems since then. Recently, she lost 55 pounds.

“The happiest and healthiest she'd been, in a long, long time,” adds her father, Rich Steger.

Jen’s family is incredibly grateful for the concertgoers who helped their daughter. Now the Scottrade Center staff is gathering information on what happened.

Spokesperson Emilee Murphree stated, “Here at Scottrade Center, the safety and comfort of our guests is the top priority. The coordinated responses of our staff and medical professionals... [is] designed to provide the best possible response and care to our patrons in any emergency situation.”

But this grieving mother thinks differently.

“We think something should improve, and if it would help somebody else, keep somebody else from losing their child, or loved one, or friend, it`s worth talking about it," Linda Steger said.

New Kids on the Block member Donnie Wahlberg tweeted about the death Friday night:

“We lost another [blockhead] tonight... If you do not trust that life is so precious yet, please do. We have been blessed with each other.”

The St. Louis Medical Examiner’s chief investigator tells FOX 2 a preliminary autopsy was performed Tuesday, but they won't have her official cause of death for several weeks, pending lab results.

Statement from Scottrade Center: “Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of the woman who experienced a medical issue while attending a concert at Scottrade Center on Friday evening.  Our staff and medical personnel are put in the best position possible to address emergency situations during all events. We conduct a full internal review and evaluation of our coordinated response.  Our review of the tragic circumstances of last week will continue as we strive to provide our guests the safest environment possible.”

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