Team of principals, teachers save student's life

An Anderson County High School freshman is alive, thanks to quick thinking and a medical tool that restarts the heart.

A team of teachers and principals saved the girl's life after her heart stopped beating.

On Monday, Assistant Principal Travis Freeman was overseeing the morning school rush, when a teacher told him a student had fallen and appeared to be having a seizure.

"We probably had 400 to 500 kids in the courtyard," Travis Freeman said.

Freeman has dealt with medical emergencies before. He estimates he saw 12 to 15 students suffer seizures last semester.

But what he found Monday in the courtyard was something he had never experienced in his career. A student, whose family has asked to remain anonymous, appeared unconscious and only had a faint heartbeat.

"When she started to close her eyes and wasn't responding to my voice and me trying to get her attention, I knew this wasn't a typical seizure," he said.

After he knew someone had called 911, his next thought was his wife. April Freeman is a trained nurse and health science teacher preparing for class across campus at the Career and Tech Center.

"I think my exact words were, 'Get my wife now,'" he said.

April Freeman took off running with a medical kit. Another administrator rushed to get one of the school's two defibrillators, or AEDs.

"I went for a carotid pulse and I couldn't feel a pulse at that point," said April Freeman.

"We had started CPR compressions and breath," he said, "Then the machine (AED) started to analyze and it advised that shock was necessary-- my heart sunk."

"It was a sober moment for everybody. There were staff all around us, and you could tell at that moment it was emergent," April said.

The husband and wife team took turns using the defibrillator and doing compressions. It took two shocks to get the student's heart beating again.

The Freemans said it took a team of teachers to clear the courtyard, calm other students, and assist them with their efforts.

Some faculty and staff involved followed the student to East Tennessee Children's Hospital. Doctors told the student's mother their actions were critical.

"They looked at the results from the AED and the AED in fact saved her life. If the AED had not been administered, she may have not been here today," Travis Freeman said.

All Anderson County High School faculty and staff are trained to use defibrillators. Many including the teachers who helped in Monday's rescue are also CPR trained.

The student's mother said her daughter is still recovering in the hospital and that she is extremely grateful for their efforts.


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