Emergency Team at West Hartford School Saves Teacher’s Life – We-Ha
Staff at West Hartford’s Intensive Education Academy save a life.
October 20, 2022 started as a normal day at the Intensive Education Academy (IEA), but by the end of the day, five employees became heroes.
On Thursday afternoon, in one of the high school’s IEA classrooms, students and staff enjoyed their weekly outing to the community. The students and staff enjoyed the beautiful day as they visited Eisenhower Park to work on social and community skills. Upon their return, everyone began to prepare for dismissal. Then things took an unexpected turn.
Suddenly, the teacher in the room felt uncomfortable. Fortunately, Andrea Salcius, Speech and Language Assistant at the IEA via CREC and a member of the IEA’s Emergency Response Team, was in the room. Knowing something was terribly wrong, she immediately assessed the situation. “I knew she was in distress, I knew she needed help and I knew we had to act quickly,” Salcuis said. The teacher didn’t respond.
Kristen McQueen and Rebecca Santino, assistant teachers in the class, quickly removed the students from the room and called the emergency response team. Within seconds, Margo Baume, CB Behavior Analyst, Matt Enright, Physical Education and Health Instructor, Deven Constant, Director of Education and Nurse Terri LeDuc were on site.
The team quickly moved into action, calling 911 and initiating early CPR and defibrillation using the school’s AED, successfully maintaining circulation until emergency services arrived. Shortly thereafter, West Hartford police, firefighters and paramedics arrived at the scene.
EMS provided advanced CPR and stabilized the teacher for transport to the local hospital, where she was evaluated and treated by the cardiology team. Paramedics say the IEA’s rapid response team played a crucial role in their survival.
“I can’t say it enough, the team was amazing. They were out of this world,” Constant said. “It was an incredible example of a group working together seamlessly and putting their entire practice into action immediately.”
LeDuc notes that 15 employees are currently being trained in CPR and the use of the AED to prepare for incidents like this one. Due to the medically vulnerable nature of some IEA students, the Emergency Response Team is always ready for quick assistance.
“We are incredibly grateful to our employees for not hesitating to take life-saving action on behalf of their colleagues,” said Lori Susi, Executive Director. “But to be honest, it’s no surprise; Every single one of these employees is committed to our students and our school every day. This time they’ve taken it to the next level and we couldn’t be more grateful.”
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