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Published On: Thu, Jul 27th, 2017

Student Saves Teacher’s Life During CPR Class

There are a lot of great reasons to learn CPR. You could be a lifesaver during an emergency when everyone else is panicking, you could teach your friends and loved ones how to perform CPR, and you could have more confidence when you find yourself in a situation in which someone is hurt or struggling to survive. And you do not need to be someone who works in a medical field to learn CPR either. In fact, the National CPR Foundation offers certification courses to community members, as well as workplace employees and healthcare providers. Anyone can learn CPR and it could be an invaluable tool wherever you go.

Below is a story that serves as a great example of how CPR can come in handy at a moment’s notice, even during a first aid and CPR class in which students with little to no experience are getting ready to learn what to do in a crisis.

photo/Brandon Jones at Winter Jam Tampa, 2015

When the CPR Instructor Needs CPR

You probably would not imagine that a CPR instructor, teaching a CPR class, would end up needing CPR. But that is what happened to a retired nurse who was teaching a first aid class to some students.

The instructor’s name is David Knowles and he had just started the CPR training course at a local church when, all of a sudden, he felt ill. Even though he fell to the floor, he did manage to take his own pulse. A student immediately asked if the instructor felt okay, and Knowles, who is 77 years old, admitted that he was not feeling well at all.

A Heart Attack Happening

Even though the students and the instructor did not know it right away at the time, what Knowles was experiencing was a heart attack. And this was happening on the very first day of the emergency training course that he was teaching.

Knowles started off by letting everyone know that he was not faking anything and that he was not feeling like himself. He also knew that he was on the verge of passing out, or perhaps even dying, so he knew that he had to let his students know how to help him before it was too late. What a way to dive into a CPR class for those students!

Knowles remembers that, even though the entire class stood up to do something, they did not look too good either. Their panic was clearly setting in, especially once they knew for sure that this was not a drill.

A Hero on the Scene

Thankfully, a student named Karol Chew was taking the course that day. She used to work as a nurse and she is also a fellow parishioner at the church where the course was being taught. She was simply enrolled in this class to refresh her memory.

First, Knowles let Chew know that she should call an ambulance immediately. By now, he knew that he was close to experiencing cardiac arrest, and he knew that he might not make it. So, he also asked for Nova, his wife, to be notified. And even in those moments, he knew that his wife, who had recently had her gallbladder removed, should not run, so he made sure to tell the students to let his wife know that she should not run, even to come to his aid.

Then Knowles asked Chew to take his false teeth out and place them in a spot where they would be safe, as he was beginning to feel foggy. He did his best to remain as calm as possible throughout the whole ordeal because he knew that he had to instruct his students, especially Chew, on how to help him.

Beyond that moment, though, he does not remember as much. He woke up two and half weeks later, as he had been put into a medically induced coma. His heart was seriously damaged, and he was barely alive when they finally got him to the hospital.

In the moments that Knowles can’t recall, however, Chew was there, performing CPR after he had stopped breathing. Without her there, and without her efforts and expertise, he is not sure if he would still be alive, as the damage that his body would have had to endure would have been even greater.

A Slow and Steady Road to His Old Self

Several months have passed since Knowles found himself having a heart attack in a classroom where he was supposed to be teaching his students how to save lives. Little did he know then that they would learn a lesson that day that they would never forget. They learned how to approach an emergency situation in real time, and that is something that you simply can’t learn from a textbook and a lecture.

Knowles says he feels much better now and he continues to work with his doctors to ensure he gets better steadily. He is keeping a very close eye on himself and his habits, and he is making it a point to exercise regularly. He also volunteers by helping St. John Ambulance and, so far, doctors are saying that he is doing well and he is in good health.

Chew, along with the other students who worked quickly and diligently that day, helped save Knowles’ life. But because he could instruct them along the way, they also did not panic and they knew what steps they needed to take first, such as calling the ambulance and notifying his wife. They would have to sign up for another class to complete their certification, of course, but what they learned that day are lessons that will stay with them.

If you are interested in learning how to perform CPR, as well as other first aid techniques, including CPR and first aid for pets, look for local classes being taught in your community. You can learn how to save lives, and you can be prepared to help someone in a time of crisis, just as Chew helped Knowles.

Author: Carol Trehearn

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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