Teachers put to the test to save a life
MURFRESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) – You trust your child’s teacher to provide an education. What you may not know: some are also trained to save your child’s life. State law requires every public school in Tennessee to have at least one AED (automated external defibrillator), an emergency plan, and practice there once a year.
Newschannel5’s Carrie Sharp attended a surprise drill at Siegel High School in Rutherford County. Angel Carter, a nurse at Monroe Carroll Junior Children’s Hospital in Vanderbilt, supervised the drill. Armed with a stopwatch and a checklist, she watched for very specific actions.
“I’m looking for immediate CPR, and I’m also looking for immediate AED use,” Carter said.
School Resource Officers and Rutherford County EMS were also involved in the plan, as the school nurse set it all in motion.
“We have a Blue Code in the cafeteria, Blue Code in the cafeteria”, alerted the teachers.
Even in an exercise, the seconds of waiting for help seem to pass more slowly. But less than a minute after the call, three teachers arrived in the school cafeteria with an AED in hand and began CPR on the dummy patient. The AED’s first shock was delivered in less than three minutes. This team trains like it’s the real thing because they know it could be.
“There was a 16-year-old who was rescued last year at Station Camp High School. He was in class when he collapsed. A 16-year-old was rescued this summer on a Murfreesboro baseball,” Carter said. “The common thread running through all these backups is that someone knew how to recognize it; someone knew about CPR and started it right away, and there was an AED accessible, and someone knew how to use it.
The Siegel High School team ticked all the boxes and passed the test where formation and seconds count.
Carter said the survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest is only 10%. But the immediate use of CPR and an AED can double or triple that. Some new studies show that when an athlete is the patient, the survival rate is as high as 89%.
Carter is part of the ADAM Project team at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. The ADAM Project is a national organization working to get AEDs to more places and training people to use them. It is named after Adam Lemel, a 17-year-old high school student from Whitefish Bay, WI, who collapsed and died of sudden cardiac arrest while playing basketball. To learn more about the Central Tennessee Chapter, click here.