kid performs CPR on teacher for 5 minutes after heart stopped
Brittany Hambleton
Brittany Hambleton
February 4, 2020 · 3 min read

Student performs CPR on teacher for 5 minutes to save her life after she collapsed and heart stopped

If someone near you suddenly began having a heart attack, fell unconscious, or stopped breathing, would you know how to help them? If your answer is no, you’re not alone. According to a Cleveland Clinic study published in 2018, only 54 percent of Americans say they know how to perform CPR, and only one in six know the recommended technique for bystander CPR, which involves chest compressions without breaths [1].

Thankfully, a highschool student in Phoenix was among that 54 percent and knew what to do when a faculty member collapsed of a heart attack on campus.

A Student Saves a Life

Metro Tech High School Junior, Salim Mohamed, performed CPR on a female staff member who had collapsed and was unconscious. Using the technique that he had learned in health class, Mohamed performed chest compressions while another faculty member, Ellen Driscoll, called 911.

“They say her heart stopped so I started chest compressions,” he said in an interview.

Driscoll put the police dispatcher on speakerphone to guide the young man through the process, and the faculty member regained consciousness before being taken away to the local hospital.”No one asked him,” Driscoll said. “He just jumped in to help, and it was like an angel coming down because I was very afraid, and to have someone come in willing to help was magical, just amazing.” [2].

The Importance of CPR

This situation highlights the importance of having CPR training. Without Mohamed’s quick actions things could have ended much differently, and his knowledge of CPR saved the faculty member’s life.

Every year, more than 350 thousand Americans experience sudden cardiac arrest, which is when your heart stops beating without warning. When this happens, there is no longer blood circulating to your brain and other organs, and death could be mere minutes away.

“When the cardiac arrest occurs outside of a hospital setting, the survival rate ranges from 2% to 15%,” says Dr. Kei Ouchi, an emergency physician at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital [3].

Approximately 88 percent of people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest outside of the hospital do not survive, but CPR can dramatically improve their chances [4]. Chest compressions help to push any remaining oxygenated blood to the organs to keep them alive until paramedics arrive and can get that person to the hospital [3].

What’s more, someone who receives CPR immediately has a much higher chance of full recovery upon being discharged from the hospital. This is because when a person’s heart stops beating, they have a very high risk of experiencing brain death. Brain death usually occurs four to six minutes after the heart stops, and even if the patient does survive, they are often left with brain damage or other medical problems [3,4].

Chest compressions keep blood moving to the brain, effectively preventing brain death from occurring, and usually prevents any ongoing brain damage. In fact, a 2015 study in Denmark of more than four thousand people determined that someone who experiences sudden cardiac arrest and receives CPR from a bystander is forty percent more likely to return to work than those who did not [3].

Where Can You Learn CPR?

There are many places that offer CPR training, usually in the form of a one or two-day-long course. The American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, several YMCAs, and sometimes local hospitals will have courses available, although there may be a fee associated with some of them.

While we most certainly recommend taking an actual course to ensure you receive the best training possible, you can also watch the video below to give you some general instruction in the meantime until you are able to enroll in a class.

While taking time out of work or spending your weekend in a CPR class doesn’t sound all that appealing, it is incredibly important because you never know when you could be in Mohamed’s position, and you could have the opportunity to save a life.