School nurse saves a life

Less than two weeks ago, school nurse, Sue Phongsathorn attended a refresher training course on how to use a defibrillator. On Thursday she was called to an emergency where she had to use the skills she had learned on the course. In doing so, she saved the life of a child who had collapsed during a football match.

Sue, who is a nurse at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School, was in the School’s Health Centre running a regular early evening clinic for boarders, when she was called to the emergency on the football pitch. The child, who was from a visiting team, was initially breathing but this deteriorated rapidly and then completely stopped. Sue started CPR and, with the assistance of PE Teacher, Mike Brown, used the defibrillator to restart the boy’s heart. During the procedure, pupils from the Royal Alexandra and Albert School, who had been playing in the match, formed a shield round the boy to protect him from onlookers. They also comforted members of the visiting team who were distressed at seeing their team mate so unwell.

Shortly afterwards the paramedics arrived and the child was taken to hospital for treatment. He is now making good progress. The paramedics were quite sure that the prompt action taken by Sue saved the child’s life.

Sue Phongsathorn said “As a nurse you are never really off duty and I always feel that something might happen. I have been a nurse for nearly 40 years and I am sure this helped me keep calm during the emergency. I am grateful for the recent training so I was confident in using the defibrillator.”

PE teacher Mike Brown adds “It was immediately clear there was a serious problem so I checked his airway but his breathing was erratic. I sent a boy to the Health Centre and we called an ambulance. I would like to thank my colleague Lee Morrissey for organising pupils, and all pupils present on the astroturf who responded impeccably, but mainly Sue for keeping me calm. The Year 10 football team will be sending a team photo and signed get well soon card to wish the boy all the best for a speedy recovery.”

Headmaster Paul D Spencer Ellis commented “We have had the defibrillator for a few months and this incident shows just how valuable it is. I would like to praise the staff who were involved, in particular Sue and Mike, for the way they handled a very difficult situation. I would also like to commend the actions of pupils who acted with great maturity in the way they supported the visiting team.”

26th January 2015

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