News-Sun photo by CHRISTOHER TUFFLEY (From left) Board members Bill Brantley and Andy Tuck congratute Serena Rushlo, Carla O'Conner, Kim Crivello and Kelly Casey the Sun N' Lake Elementary School employees who saved a heart attack victim in the school cafeteria.
published: Friday, November 02, 2012
Sun 'N Lake Elementary staff members honored for saving life
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
SEBRING -- Everything was going according to plan at Sun 'N Lake Elementary School on Friday, Oct. 5. Kindergartners and first graders were having lunch.
A grandfather was having lunch with his granddaughter, when suddenly he collapsed and slumped over. His granddaughter screamed.
Serena Rushlo, a lunch room monitor, and Kim Crivello, a custodian, rushed to the booth. Crivello began checking the grandfather, while Rushlo focused on the little girl and made sure she was escorted away. The grandfather was having trouble breathing.
Crivello called 911, while checking the victim's pulse. It was weak and he stopped breathing, becoming unconscious. Rushlo and Crivello tried to move the man onto the floor for CPR treatment, but he was too heavy for them to manage, so Rushlo began compressions while he was still in the booth. Crivello remained in contact with the emergency dispatcher, relaying informationa.
Two parents stepped in between the man and the body of students, to keep them from seeing anything frightening.
In the meantime, another staff member notified cafeteria manager Carla O'Connor, who came immediately and saw Rushlo and Crivello needed assistance. As O'Connor reached the booth, the school's health technician, Kelly Casey, arrived.
The four women were able to move the victim onto the floor. O'Connor put her sweatshirt under the man's head so his neck could be properly extended. O'Connor relieved Rushlo on the chest compressions, and Casey administered breathing until the second-responders arrived.
Relieved of administering compressions, Rushlo and another lunch monitor moved the students away from the incident and a room divider was closed.
The Sun 'N Lake Improvement District fire department arrived, followed by Highlands County paramedics. O'Connor and Casey kept applying CPR until asked to step back. A defibrillator was used, and the man was transported across the street to Florida Hospital. Later airlifted to a larger hospital, the grandfather survived and currently is doing well.
"This all happened in 10 minutes," Sun 'N Lake principal Linda Laye told the school board Tuesday, when the women were honored for their quick thinking and calm under pressure.
"Their promptness to assess the emergency situation is what saved the grandfather's life. In addition the staff worked as a team to deal with the small children witnessing this emergency. They took control of the situation that yielded positive results."
Crivello, Rushlo, O'Connor and Casey received a standing ovation.
Wow! (by: Sheldon - 11/2/2012)
Great Job by all involved!
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