Utah County teens credited for helping save girl's life

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AMERICAN FORK -- Two junior high school students, along with two of their teachers, are being called heroes for helping to save a life. When a seventh-grade girl suffered a sudden heart problem and collapsed they all jumped into action.

Even though school has been in session less than a month, Melissa Squire and Brooke Ballantyne have passed off CPR in their first aid class. When their teacher asked them to come help him last week, they had no idea what would happen next.

"We didn't know it was that big of an emergency," Brooke said.

When the girls got there, a seventh-grade student wasn't breathing and the PE teacher had started CPR.

"We hooked her up to the bulb valve mask, and we forced oxygen into her, and we started doing compressions on her," Melissa said.

Their first aid teacher then told them to get the school's defibrillator. From their class, they knew exactly where it was kept.

"This defibrillator told us a shock was needed," Brooke said.

Melissa and Brooke used the machine to administer that shock, and the girl suddenly started breathing again. When paramedics arrived, they took her to the hospital.

"It was lucky the call came in during our first aid class so I could take a couple of those kids that were able to help, and they were a big help," said teacher Kevin Dickerson.

The PE teacher, who has been at American Fork Junior High for 32 years, also credits her CPR training.

"Usually Band-aids and ice fix 90 percent of what happens in my class, and this is the case where it was a little more traumatic," Sherrie Scott said.

For the students, their first aid class allowed them to actively help in a rescue.

"I learned how to do the compressions, and that was huge," Melissa said. "I learned the right depth and the rhythm, and I learned to stay calm; that was the biggest thing -- stay calm."

The seventh-grade student the girls helped is now home from the hospital and is continuing to recover.

E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com

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Sam Penrod


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