A school nurse and principal are being applauded for their actions on Wednesday after the two performed CPR on a student that was experiencing cardiac arrest and not breathing.
After being informed at approximately 10 a.m. that one of their special education students was having a possible medical emergency, Valencia High School nurse Dianne Fernandez and Principal Pete Getz sprang into action.
“The student had gone into a medical emergency in the classroom and the adults in the classroom, the teacher and the instructional assistants were absolutely phenomenal in providing first-level support,” said Getz.
Getz explained that by “first level support,” he meant that the teachers quickly acted in contacting the office, ensuring the other students were safe and setting the stage for medically trained staff and paramedics to enter and quickly help the student.
“We have highly trained staff in the classroom, and so between the teacher and the instructional assistants, they know their students well,” said Getz. “They’re not unfamiliar with medical complications, especially within this unique population.”
Upon reaching the student, Fernandez and Getz then worked as a team to administer CPR to the student who was continuing to have a medical emergency, even after the two main office employees quickly made their way across campus.
“So then (Dianne) and I provided the necessary steps, including rescue breathing … the interesting thing about this situation was that the entire staff rallied,” said Getz. “All my other assistant principals, my other staff on campus — every little detail was attended to right away, whether it was preparing for the arrival of paramedics, removing students from the classroom or providing support for one another, because for some people it was very, very traumatic.”
“I feel so honored to have been able to aid a student today,” Fernandez said. “With the help of my incredible coworkers, we managed to assist in saving this young man’s life. When the paramedics arrived, I was grateful for the added support. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family. I wish this young man a speedy recovery.”
According to first responders, soon after paramedics arrived on the scene, the student was able to be transported to the hospital via ambulance.
“Everybody just did exactly what they needed to do and we covered all bases, which allowed us to essentially save this young man’s life and get the paramedics actively involved very quickly,” said Getz. “But it was a very real, very scary situation.”