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Published on May 22, 2024
Quick-Thinking Hialeah Educators Save 9-Year-Old Student After Cardiac Arrest at Joella C. Good Elementary SchoolSource: Google Street View

When a 9-year-old student suffered a cardiac arrest at Joella C. Good Elementary School in Hialeah, swift action by staff members saved his life. The emergency unfolded around lunchtime last Friday when the boy collapsed after ascending a flight of stairs, according to a report by NBC Miami. His teachers, recently trained in emergency cardiac response, sprang into action without hesitation, showcasing the critical importance of such preparedness.

Dianelys Descalzo, the boy's reading teacher, was the first to reach him. "I began to do the compressions, just hoping to get some form of response from him," Descalzo told NBC Miami. Jorge Parra, an aftercare manager, and physical education teacher Todd Peterseil worked together seamlessly; while Peterseil administered chest compressions, Parra prepared the AED.

The defibrillator needed to be attached "on top of the right side of the pec, and on the left side of the rib cage," Parra described in a statement obtained by Local 10 News. It was a giant gasp for air following the first shock that signaled the boy's return to the brink of life.

The student's revival after just one defibrillator shock stands testament to the efficacy of the heart safety training provided by Project Adam, a program that aims to prepare school staff to respond to such critical incidents. Joella C. Good Elementary School was among the last in the Miami-Dade district to be certified Heart Safe by the initiative, a fact underscored by Melissa Olen, director of Project Adam at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, who emphasized to Local 10 News the importance of an early response and immediate CPR.

This life-saving event has not only brought the community together but also highlighted the role educators play beyond the classroom. In the aftermath, Parra humbly shifted focus from himself to the collective effort, stating, “I don’t want to take this opportunity to be thanked," he said, "On the contrary, I would like to thank the family, and I would like to thank my partners here at the school.” The young boy, now recovering in the hospital and waiting for a heart transplant, has already expressed his gratitude by sending photos and drawings to his rescuers, notes Local 10 News.

Miami-Community & Society