Proper training and quick thinking enabled staff members at Lee Elementary School to save the life of a third-grade student last week.
Lee PE teachers Tammy Bain and Jennifer Stokley and school nurse Cheryl Bush came together in an amazing display of teamwork and responsiveness to keep one child’s heart beating.
At 10:10 a.m. on Feb. 25, Bain and Stokley were wrapping up their PE class and lining up students to go to art and music. As students were finishing their running exercise, Bain took note of one of them making a circular motion with his finger as though he intended to loop around the gym again.
As he circled over to the line to go to the next class period, Bain saw the student slow down, drop to his knees and topple face-down onto the floor.
Bain immediately turned the student over on his back and began performing initial chest compressions as Stokley directed one student to notify Nurse Bush and another student to notify the principal’s office that there was an emergency in the gym. Bush arrived quickly and radioed for the automatic external defibrillator (AED) to be brought from the main office, her stethoscope to be brought from the clinic and for someone to call 911.
Bain and Bush used the AED to perform CPR for approximately 12 minutes before paramedics arrived on the scene. Meanwhile, Stokley communicated with staff and the emergency dispatcher while also keeping everyone calm.
“When I replay it in my mind, I realize that he was in the right place at the right time,” Stokley said. “He happened to be with two people who were properly trained in CPR certification, and wasn’t far from the nurse’s office.”
After the student was transported to Texas Children’s Hospital, Lee Elementary staff members waited in earnest to receive an update on the child’s condition. It wasn’t until late Monday afternoon when they received word that although he remained in serious condition, his heart was beating on its own. Doctors also told principal Tonya Goree that had the teachers not performed CPR as quickly as they did, the student would not have survived.
“ I’ve been certified for close to 30 years, and I didn’t have to use it until a week ago—and I pray to God that I never have to use that training again,” Bain said.
Lee ES 1: From left to right, Lee PE teacher Jennifer Stokley, registered nurse Cheryl Bush, and PE teacher Tammy Bain used a defibrillator to help save a student’s life.