On the morning of September 16, 2015, a science class at a middle school in Levittown, NY, was in session as planned until a student went into sudden cardiac arrest.
Twelve-year-old Wisdom Lane Middle School student Jessica Lemus received CPR chest compressions, mouth-to-mouth, and three shocks from an AED defibrillator for seven minutes before an ambulance arrived. After spending 34 days in three hospitals, and having open-heart surgery and a defibrillator implanted, Jessica is finally home recovering.
She was born with a heart murmur, and while doctors knew that shed need surgery eventually, the cardiac arrest came as a complete surprise to her family. Her doctor kept telling me she was fine and all of the sudden this happened, no one was expecting it, Jessicas mother Reina Lemus told LittleThings. It was a very depressing and traumatic thing to deal with.
Photo Courtesy of Carole Going
Thanks toLouis Law, passed in 2002, all public schools in New York State must be equipped with AEDs in their buildings and at all sporting events. According to Wisdom Lane Special Education Teacher Carole Going, doctors and EMTs said that if it werent for the quick response and the AED, Jessica wouldnt be alive today.
As teachers, we go through all sorts of certifications, and CPR training isnt one of them, Going said. Although every one of the teachers who saved Jessicas life were CPR-certified, thats a big piece were missing.
Jessicas story isnt unique, and it speaks to a larger issue thats being addressed in schools across the country. Legislation recently introduced in the state ofWisconsincalled for CPR to be a health curriculum requirement after a similar incident in Marathon County this spring. The New York City Board of Regents made CPR training a requirement in allNew York high schoolsofficial on September 17, coincidentally a day after Jessicas incident.
When doctors were telling me that my daughter was passed out for a whole seven minutes, it made me think, Thank God someone knew how to use CPR, Reina Lemus said. I think parents and people who work in schools need to all know how to use CPR, because you never know when something like this could happen.
Wisconsin’s bill has backing by theAmerican Heart Association they cite that training takes only 30 minutes on average. The AHA alsoreportsthat more than 325,000 people go into cardiac arrest each year with a 10percent survival rate legislators hope that educating the some 164,000 students whograduate high school every year will make a significant impact on that figure. Only alittle more than half of all statesare on board, so there’s still work to be done.
Photo Courtesy of Carole Going
Today, Jessica has a caretaker and receives visits from teachers who are helping her stay on track for graduation shes hoping to be back in school by January, and will be 13 years old on November 25.
We all have to be strong for her right now, and were so thankful for all the support, Reina Lemus said.
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Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/jessica-lemus-cardiac-arrest/