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Class Hero: Teen Saves Classmate by Performing CPR Until Help Arrives

September 02, 2008
Publish Date: 7/29/2008 Class hero Teen saves classmate by performing CPR until help arrives By Magdalena Wegrzyn Longmont Times-Call WESTMINSTER — When Lori Hayden said goodbye to her daughter before school on April 7, it seemed like a normal day. “You send your daughter to school on Monday, and you never think something like this could happen,” she said. After lunch that Monday, Lori’s daughter Lindsay, a 17-year-old senior at Standley Lake High School in Westminster, collapsed during class and went into sudden cardiac arrest. Her friend and classmate, 18-year-old Cameron Durand, launched into action. Pushing desks out of the way, he laid his jacket under Hayden’s head. When Hayden turned a blue color and stopped breathing, Durand started CPR. A lifeguard at Water World for three years, Durand said his training took over and it was “second nature.” “It didn’t hit me how intense it was until afterward,” he said. The American Heart Association reports that for every minute a sudden cardiac arrest victim is without CPR, their chances of survival drop 7 to 10 percent. Within four to six minutes, brain damage sets in. “If somebody hasn’t started CPR once the paramedics get there, we have little to no chance to save that person,” said Cindy Jarrell, a paramedic and the EMS course director at Longmont United Hospital. “I’ve never saved anybody that hasn’t had CPR prior to us getting there.” While Durand performed CPR, two classmates alerted the school’s resource police officer, Dan Mayer, about Hayden’s collapse. When he arrived on the scene, Mayer used the school’s defibrillator to shock Hayden’s heart. The Philips HeartStart FRx Defibrillator that saved Hayden’s life was given to the school after Dan Lunger, Durand’s best friend, died from a heart abnormality in 2006. Lunger’s family donated the $2,500 defibrillator in memory of their son. “It sat there with dust on it for a year almost,” Hayden said. “It has never been used. It has never been touched. The door had never been opened.” A heart going through fibrillation is like a computer that’s frozen in a loop, Longmont firefighter and CPR instructor Michael Freyta explained. A defibrillator “re-boots” the heart to shock it out of the loop. An automated external defibrillator, like the one that was used on Hayden, provides voice commands for the rescuer. “It’s really about the most simplistic tools out there,” Freyta said, explaining that if the device detects a working heart rate, it will not shock. Hayden was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Lafayette and later transferred to The Children’s Hospital in Aurora. “They told me on Tuesday, ‘Cameron saved you,’ and I was like, ‘From what?’” she said. “I still didn’t really know what happened.” Hayden was taken into surgery three days later to have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator sewn under the skin of her armpit. The device can detect an arrhythmia and deliver electrical jolts to correct it. The exact cause of Hayden’s sudden cardiac arrest remains a mystery. Now, close to three months after her collapse, Hayden has made a full recovery. She plans to attend Colorado State University in the fall and major in communications. Part of her crusade is to educate people about defibrillators. “It gives you goosebumps to think that Dan died and his foundation gave that unit to the school, which then saved my life,” Hayden said. “Bottom line, if he hadn’t passed away, we wouldn’t have had that,” Durand said. Durand plans to major in biology at Metropolitan State College in Denver and hopes to eventually become a doctor. “I just want to help people,” he said, shrugging off any accolades. Magdalena Wegrzyn can be reached at 303-684-5224 or at tcreporter5@times-call.com. Cameron Durand, left, performed CPR on Lindsay Hayden, right, when she went into cardiac arrest at Standley Lake High School. Courtesy Manning Selvage & Lee How to perform CPR Check for response/Get help Call 911 immediately. The operators are trained to talk you through CPR if you’ve never taken a class or need a refresher. If possible, take a CPR class to become familiar with the process. “Get involved and take a class — for everybody’s sake,” advised Cindy Jarrell, a paramedic and the EMS course director at Longmont United Hospital Clear the airway Place your hand on the victim’s forehead and tilt back while pulling the chin away from the jaw. “As we pull the jaw away, we’re taking the tongue — which is many times one of the largest obstructions in the airway — away from the airway to allow the victim to breathe easier,” Longmont firefighter and CPR instructor Michael Freyta said. Check for breathing/Start mouth-to-mouth resuscitation Freyta suggests the “look, listen and feel” method to determine if the victim is breathing. If he or she isn’t, seal your mouth around the victim’s and exhale two full breaths – slowly. If the breath is too fast, it will go into the stomach, which can cause the victim to vomit. “Now you’ve got a new airway obstruction that wasn't there earlier,” Freyta said. If you are uncomfortable with mouth-to-mouth contact, go directly to the compressions. CPR guidelines published by the American Heart Association in 2005 state that mouth-to-mouth breathing is not an essential component. Begin compressions Start a rapid sequence of 30 compressions, followed by two breaths. Continue this cycle for five sets for a total of two minutes. Reassess the situation after two minutes to see if you should continue with more sets. The depth of the compressions should be 1.5 to 2 inches for victims older than 8. For children and infants, the compressions should be one-third to one-half the depth of the body. Using the heel of one hand, compress in the center of the chest on the sternum in line with the victim’s armpits. CPR for children younger than 8 requires less pressure during the compressions. “Use one hand only on the child’s chest, and use the other hand to hold the airway open,” Freyta said. “This will eliminate your compression downward force, and it will also reduce that to a proper depth so you’re not going as far down as you would with an adult.” For infants younger than 1 year, two fingers in line with the armpits can suffice, according to Freyta. To avoid damaging an infant’s thumb-sized lungs, Freyta advises simply puffing out the cheeks to exhale air.