April 18, 2012

Positivity: School Nurse and Teacher Save Hannum Student’s Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:30 am

From Oaklawn, IL:

April 13, 2012

If not for the swift action of a school nurse, gym teacher and a portable defibrillator, 9-year-old Caitlyn O’Reilly may not have survived a potentially fatal heart arrhythmia.

On a beautiful Leap Day morning 9-year-old Caitlyn O’Reilly’s own heart took a leap of sorts, causing the girl to collapse on the playground of Hannum Elementary School.

If not for the quick thinking actions of a teacher and school nurse, and a nearby automated external defibrillator or AED—Caitlyn’s survival of a potentially fatal heart arrhythmia is pure serendipity.

“It was such a shock at first and then it was so amazing that she made it,” Caitlyn’s mother, Joanne O’Reilly said, who was on her way to lunch when she received a call from the school on her cell phone. “Ninety-eight percent don’t survive it.”

Born with a complex form of birth heart defect involving switching pumping chambers and great arteries with a hole in the heart, the Oak Lawn girl is no stranger to Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital. Caitlyn has already undergone a sophisticated repair by Hope Children’s cardiovascular surgeons.

Until the morning of Feb. 29, however, Caitlyn had never shown the potential for a fatal arrhythmia. Playing with two young friends at recess, Caitlyn “stared blankly” and fell over, her mother said.

“[Her friends] thought she was kidding around,” Joanne continued. “Then they got scared and knew she needed help.”

After Caitlyn’s friends alerted the recess supervisor that she had collapsed, a gym teacher and nurse moved into swift action.

School nurse Therese Carberry administered CPR while gym teacher Gregory Guzzo grabbed the school’s AED, a device that diagnoses and treats potentially fatal arrhythmias and allows the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.

Confirming the presence of a lethal arrhythmia, the AED was activated to shock Caitlyn and restore the activity of her heart muscle. The device ultimately saved her life in the interim of waiting for paramedics to arrive on the scene. …

Go here for the rest of the story.


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