School Nurse Performs CPR to Help Save Student’s Life

Linette Castro, the school nurse at Winfield Scott School No. 2 in New Jersey, had recently started her tenure when a student experienced cardiac arrest. On the morning of Oct. 24, 2023, Linette was in her office when the school’s security guard informed her of the emergency. Principal Shante Rorie rushed towards her, calling out the student’s name in need of medical assistance. Linette recognized the student due to his known heart condition and pacemaker. They hurried to the hallway where the student lay on the floor. Linette immediately assessed the situation, checking for a pulse and using her stethoscope, revealing no heartbeat as the pacemaker had malfunctioned. Shante contacted the front office to dial 911 while Linette initiated CPR and Shante retrieved the AED. In that critical moment, Linette realized she was the sole nurse present, accustomed to working in a high-pressure neonatal ICU with a team. Despite the pressure, she remained composed, considering the lack of experience in such life-threatening situations for the school community. With determination, Linette continued CPR on the student, maintaining focus despite the alarming physical changes. As she prepared to use the AED, the gravity of the situation struck her, having to apply it to a child in need.

Linette administered a shock as advised by the AED, then resumed CPR. The fire department arrived promptly, transporting the student to the hospital. Shante received two calls from a hospital official commending Linette’s actions. The head of the cardiac department personally praised Linette’s lifesaving efforts, leaving Shante in awe. The student made a full recovery, returning to school amidst emotional embraces from Shante and Linette. Both Shante and Linette, known for their emotional nature, were moved to tears during the encounter. Shante noted that Linette’s calmness and quick actions were instrumental in saving the student’s life. Shante reflected on how the arrival of Linette, with her swift and decisive actions, seemed destined. She believes that Linette was meant to be there to fulfill her purpose of saving lives.

Shante praised Linette as a diligent, caring individual who exceeds her duties to ensure the well-being of students and staff. Linette has revolutionized medical care at their school by efficiently managing student health needs, minimizing long waiting times, and promptly addressing urgent cases. Linette’s colleague Veronica Valentine Frazier nominated her for the AHA Heartsaver Hero award to honor her life-saving actions during a critical event. Linette’s swift and effective response, including administering CPR for six minutes until help arrived, showcased her exceptional skills and preparedness. Linette credited her AHA training for guiding her actions during the out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Linette mentioned recalling the training, particularly the practical maneuvers and ensuring the quality of compressions given during a cardiac emergency. Her experience inspired Shante to pursue CPR training and led Veronica to create a business offering CPR training to school district employees. Linette emphasized the importance of CPR skills, advising other nurses to always be prepared to use this life-saving technique in various settings like schools or supermarkets.


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