Nurse Syndia Jean-Baptist sobbed when she received her ACTion Hero Award alongside fellow school-based nurses, Norma Carrasco and Bethany Simmons-Little, at Community Health of South Florida, Inc by the CEO, Brodes H. Hartley, Jr.
The emotional wounds were still raw. Just two weeks prior, Jean-Baptist found herself performing CPR on her former high school teacher at Homestead Middle School on February 26th.
“When I arrived, I noticed he was slumped over in a chair with agonal breathing and gasping sounds,” said Jean-Baptist. “I quickly gave directive to call 911.”
The teacher did not have a pulse and was placed on the floor where Nurse Jean-Baptist began chest compressions until fire rescue arrived. Very quickly, paramedics began further measures to save the teacher who was having a massive heart attack.
“I just knew I had to give my everything to save his life,” she said.
Once he was breathing on his own again, the teacher was transferred to Jackson South Hospital. He survived for 9 days, just enough time for him to see his family again. Unfortunately, he later passed away after another heart attack.
“It’s still very hard for me to process all of this,” said Jean-Baptist. “I am happy to know that I did all I could to give him another chance.”
Nurse Bethany Simmons-Little also experienced a similar case on February 18th when she saved a female teacher at Leisure City K-8 School.
Simmons-Little was called into a classroom where she found the teacher unresponsive with her eyes opened and no pulse.
“It is very hard to find yourself in a situation like that,” said Simmons-Little. “The school was counting on me to save this woman’s life.”
She rapidly began chest compressions as a police officer utilized the Automated External Defibrillator (AED).
“When paramedics arrived, they determined she had a massive heart attack,” said Simmons-Little. “I almost thought I lost her.”
The teacher was admitted to the ICU at Jackson South Hospital and is slowly recovering. After a successful surgery, she remains stable and alert.
“I am so thankful that I can be of help for those at Leisure City K-8 School to keep our next generations well and healthy,” said Simmons-Little.
Nurse Norma Carrasco also had to act quickly when she was called to the courtyard of Braddock Holmes High School. She found a student, who appeared gray in color, choking on a piece of chicken.
“The school staff had already attempted to dislodge the chicken from the student’s airway before I got there,” said Carrasco. “My first thought was to apply the Heimlich maneuver to help him.”
Carrasco’s quick thinking saved the boy’s life.
“I am very happy to say that he is doing very well, and there was no need to call 911,” said Carrasco.