Teachers use AED to save student's life after he goes into cardiac arrest

Sept. 15, 2016: Teachers at Holston Middle School used their training and an AED to save a child's life when he went into cardiac arrest during school.

What started as just another gym class at Holston Middle School turned into the unexpected when a child went into cardiac arrest.

"We came outside and we were doing one warm up lap before our activity,” said P.E. teacher Dan Thompson.

“It was actually one of the best days, it was 80 degrees hardly any humidity,” said P.E. teacher Travis Tipton.

Suddenly, a student fell to the ground. 

“I just started sprinting towards him, called out their name,” Thompson said, "checked for a pulse, couldn't find one, immediately yelled at my co-teacher to go get the AED.”

Tipton ran to the school and into the gymnasium to grab the automated external defibrillator that hangs outside the gym doors.

"Once it happened, it just kind of clicked, 'Hey this is what needs to be done,'” Tipton said.

The two P.E. teachers along with Assistant Principal Jim Wolfenbarger administered CPR and used the AED for shock until an ambulance arrived.

Just a few weeks prior, the staff had gone through a practice drill simulating the exact scenario.

"It’s one of those things you practice practice, practice and you're able to perform when something happens,” said Tipton.

Having the device, knowing where it is, and how to use it, is now a state regulation for schools.

RELATED: AED training in school bill passes

It’s part of a bill stemming from efforts by mother Rhonda Harrill, whose son Tanner died from cardiac arrest back in 2009. No AED was readily available.

“I couldn’t save Tanner, and to think something that small he would be here today and no other parent has to go through what I go through,” Harrill said Thursday. 

RELATED: Mother pushes for AED bill

While she can’t have her son back, Harrill is encouraged her fight is making a change.

"For seven years you fight so hard to say 'Look this does save lives, my bill saves lives,'” she said.

The incident at Holston Middle School happened about two weeks ago. The teachers say when the student was put in the ambulance they weren’t sure if he would make it.

However, he’s doing fine now and came back to school about 10 days later.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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