Dallas ISD elementary staff save life of man having heart attack

A group of teachers and staff at a Dallas ISD elementary school jumped into action to save a man's life after he went into cardiac arrest.

The scary incident happened March 26 at Martha Turner Reilly Elementary when a substitute teacher suddenly collapsed and didn't have a pulse. Staff members said the substitute teacher collapsed in the front office -- right where the AED and a CPR-certified staff member happened to be.

“We did it as a team, that's what we're all about, working together,” said Amparo Guzman, school counselor.

Office manager Irene Aguilar was signing in the substitute teacher in the front office on a Monday morning when he suddenly collapsed.

“I checked to see if he was breathing, was he hurt, I called for help,” Aguilar said, who called for Guzman to come assist her.

“The sub is laying on the floor, he's trying to gasp so hard for air, he's turning red,” Guzman said.

He eventually stopped breathing and began turning purple and had no pulse.

Guzman called 911 and grabbed the nearby AED just outside the door as Aguilar, who happens to be one of four people in the school certified in CPR, started chest compressions.

“I wasn't going to let him die, I was not, I wasn't giving up,” Guzman said.

At the same time, school nurse Beata Fik was just walking in the door to start her day when she was urgently called to the office.

“You've got to think to save his life and act quickly because every minute counts at that point,” Fik said.

Fik used the AED to administer two shocks to the man. The group alternated between CPR and the AED until finally a pulse returned just before paramedics arrived.

Witnesses say the man was down for about 13 minutes before they were able to get a pulse back.

“It was so emotional, just to see him from losing his color, to turning purple to back again,” Guzman said.

“It was like a wow, we can't believe what we had just done,” Aguilar said.

A group of determined teachers and staff working together as a team.

“We brought a human back to life, there's no words to explain. It's just beautiful,” Guzman said.

The substitute's family asked for privacy, but said they are immensely grateful to the staff for their quick actions. He was recently released from the hospital and is doing physical therapy to continue his recovery.

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