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Local high school EMT students save teacher’s life using skills she taught them

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 3:35 PM CST
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WORTHAM, Texas (KWTX) - After months of studying and practicing, a group of Wortham High School seniors working towards their EMT certification got put to the ultimate test when their teacher had a medical episode.

“She started shaking quite a bit. Kind of like a little seizure,” said Alana Echartea, one of the students.

Their Emergency Medical Technician teacher Teresa McLaughlin says she had been tired and sleep deprived and began feeling lightheaded during classes.

“I knew I was going to pass out. I felt it,”McLauglin said.

The students said they initially thought their teacher was testing them to see if they knew how to handle this kind of medical episode but they soon realized this was not a test. Using what McLauglin had taught them, the students immediately jumped into action.

“We had students performing glucose tests to check her glucose which is the sugar in the body,” said student Mika-Lyn Gargis. “We had both of us giving her oxygen and Alana was tilting her head back to make sure she wasn’t snoring.”

The snoring, McLaughlin later explained, was a sign her airway was dangerously being obstructed by her tongue. But McLaughlin said even in such a dire situation she had confidence in her students.

“Actually, while I was out, I had little bits of awareness and I knew they were there, and I was hearing some things they were doing and I remember even sort of saying ‘good job. You’re doing that well’,” McLauglin said.

Before an ambulance and licensed EMTS showed up the students had completed all the emergency procedures and gotten all their teacher-turned-patient’s vital signs.

“There was really nothing left for them to do but move her to their stretcher, I mean we had it covered,” said student Charley Braun

Their teacher says she now has a newfound respect and appreciation for her students.

“I kind of expected that at some point they’d be needed to help somebody. But I didn’t think it would be me. I thought I’d be there to help them, not to be the patient,” McLauglin said.

This is the first year Wortham ISD has had its EMT program. The group of students who saved their teacher’s life will be able to receive their EMT certification at the end of this school year.

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