Defibrillator saves life of PHS student

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 6, 2003

The response of school personnel and the use of a portable defibrillator reportedly saved the life of a Pelham High School junior last Friday.

Shelby County School Superintendent Evan Major said an 11th grade female student at Pelham High School collapsed after lunch in her math class.

He said CPR was administered, a defibrillator device was used and the revived student was transported to the hospital in stable condition where she &uot;remains to improve.&uot;

&uot;We are thankful

that we had the defibrillator,&uot; Major said.

&uot;Our Principal, Bob Lavett, and his staff did an excellent job …

teachers, assistant principal Jennifer Goolsby, other teachers in the area, and we’re real fortunate and very thankful that this device was available and we were able to help the child.&uot;

Lavett said a coach in the next room, Brian Autry, began to give the student CPR soon after she collapsed.

He said assistant principal Goolsby began compressions, and when (Lavett) arrived on the scene, he summoned the defibrillator.

Lavett described the device as an automated piece of equipment that &uot;did its job.&uot;

He said the device monitored the heart rate of the student and fired two electric shocks, after which paramedics arrived on the scene.

&uot;I learned that these devices are certainly wonderful,&uot; said Lovett.

He said the Pelham PTO bought the device which was used in this incident, and the city of Pelham has purchased two more to give the school a total of three.

Cindy Warner, a spokesperson for Shelby County Schools, reported the defibrillators purchased by the city of Pelham actually arrived on the day of the incident.

&uot;There was no question that was a good decision when we made it,&uot; Pelham Mayor Bobby Hayes said of the decision by the city to buy two of the devices for Pelham High. &uot;You can’t put a price on a youngsters life.&uot;

The mayor said: &uot;The fact they used (a defibrillator)

in a live situation speaks volumes about whether or not this was a good investment.

&uot;Even if we never use them they are worth every penny we paid and every penny we pay to maintain them.&uot;

Lavett said in the aftermath of the incident, &uot;I learned the importance of this equipment and that CPR is a temporary bridge until you can get some help to the scene. We were thankful, and all indications are that the lady (student) is doing fine.&uot;

The devices purchased by the PTO and the city of Pelham

cost about $2,400 each.

According to Warner, the student slumped over in her chair and lost consciousness about 12 noon last Friday.

The teacher immediately contacted the school’s front office, which in turn called 911.

Warner further reported the student regained a heartbeat, and paramedics, who quickly arrived on the scene, took over emergency medical treatment and transported the student to Children’s Hospital.

She quoted a custodial uncle of the student saying: &uot;The doctors here at Children’s have told us that the defibrillator definitely saved her life.&uot;

According to Warner, the student was expected to be placed in intensive care and to be evaluated by cardiologists to determine what caused the incident