“See you on Monday!” Principal Steve Bush said as he dismissed students during Friday afternoon pickup. “Have a good weekend.” It was the first weekend in October 2020 and there was a hint of fall in the air at Redding Elementary in Seymour, Indiana.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the school, thirdgrade teacher Linda Hume was grading papers while waiting to dismiss students who took the late bus. One of her students noticed that Mrs. Hume suddenly went missing from her desk. The student walked around the L-shaped desk and found Mrs. Hume lying on the floor. She notified Kylene Steward, the teacher in the adjacent classroom.

Just as he was dismissing another student, the school secretary’s voice came across the walkie talkie Principal Bush always carries, telling him to report immediately to Ms. Hume’s classroom. “The urgency in her tone made it pretty clear that something was very wrong.” Principal Bush and assistant principal Aaron Floyd sprinted across campus to Mrs. Hume’s classroom. Thanks to the student’s quick thinking, Principal Bush, Assistant Principal Floyd, and the school nurse Rhiannen Chandler converged on Mrs. Hume’s classroom all at once.

Putting training into action

“Her coloring wasn’t one I’ve ever seen before,” Principal Bush recalls. Nurse Chandler and Assistant Principal Floyd tried to get her to respond and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) compressions. They suspected sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), so Principal Bush ran for the automated external defibrillator (AED) kept by the exit to the school playground. He was back in minutes.

Mr. Floyd and Ms. Chandler worked together to keep compressing Mrs. Hume’s chest while attaching her to the ZOLL® Powerheart® G3 AED. The AED analyzed Mrs. Hume’s heart rhythm and recommended a shock. The rescuers followed the AED guidance and continued to deliver compressions and shocks as indicated by the AED until EMS arrived.

Principal Bush turned his attention to clearing the area, communicating with EMS, and directing paramedics to their exact location on the school campus. The ambulance was on the scene quickly; paramedics took over CPR, transporting Mrs. Hume to a local hospital.

A complete recovery

Doctors said that Mrs. Hume’s SCA was caused by an electrical issue of the heart. They implanted a pacemaker/ICD to help prevent any further events. “The doctors said that the school did everything right and that the AED helped save my life,” she recalls. Mrs. Hume spent two weeks in the hospital and was back at her desk at Redding Elementary by the first day of second semester. She walks every morning and has no limitations or activity restrictions.

At Redding Elementary, the AED rescuers used on Mrs. Hume hangs on the wall right near her classroom, between the bathroom and the school exit. “You see it there every day and pass by it without thinking you’ll need it,” Mrs. Hume observes. “I am so thankful for every one of the rescuers. I was in the right place at the right time.”

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