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Parents grateful for defibrillator that saved son's life

By Sam Penrod | Posted - Oct. 14, 2011 at 6:07 p.m.

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SPANISH FORK — The 6-year-old boy who collapsed and nearly died at a Spanish Fork elementary school Thursday is recovering in the hospital. His parents say he had no prior history of heart problems, and they're grateful a responding police officer was carrying a defibrillator.

It's been a tough 24 hours for Todd and Laura Powell. Thursday, their 6-year-old son Logan's heart stopped beating without any warning during his PE class. His teacher immediately called his mom.

"It is hard to process," Laura Powell said. "You are so concerned, and any mom would think the absolute worst; and it was even a little worse than that, just not knowing of your baby would make it."

If another 20 minutes of time had passed, another 10 minutes had passed, and (I) think there would have been an entirely different outcome.

–Todd Powell, Logan Powell's father

Friday, Logan is stable and doctors are assessing his condition.

"He is off of any type of life support. He is breathing on his own," Todd Powell said. "Neurologically, he is still recuperating — we're told that is something we are going to see improve over the next three to five days.

The Powells have nothing but praise for the PE teacher, school staff, paramedics and doctors who attended to their son.

"If another 20 minutes of time had passed, another 10 minutes had passed, and (I) think there would have been an entirely different outcome," Todd Powell said.

But the Powells say the real hero was a Spanish Fork police officer who had a defibrillator in his patrol car.

"The machine, the defibrillator, saved his life," Laura Powell said. "That was the difference. The CPR was not bringing him back, so it's truly a miracle."

KSL News did some checking and found not all schools have defibrillators, also known as AEDs, available. But there are examples of AEDs in schools, which have helped to save lives.

AED status in Utah school districts
  • Salt Lake School District: no schools have AEDs
  • Canyons School District: a few AEDs at various schools
  • Granite School District: a few AEDs at various schools
  • Alpine School District: all secondary schools have AEDs, half of elementary schools have AEDs
  • Nebo School District: voted last month to install AEDs in all schools

Three years ago, an AED at Delta High School revived an elderly man who lived across the street from the school. And just last year, students used an AED at American Fork Junior High to save the life of a classmate.

"They should be in every school," said Dr. Susan Etheridge, a pediatric cardiologist at Primary Children's Medical Center. "They're in every government office. There's several in that hospital. They're in airports. They should be where are children are."

Schools that do not have the life-saving devices say the expense is the reason why. But administrators point out they do train school nurses and staff in CPR.

As for Logan, though he's facing a somewhat uncertain future, for now his parents are thankful their son is alive.

"We are on cloud nine," Laura Powell said. "(He's recovering) far faster than we expected. He is doing really well. We feel really encouraged by the outlook of the whole situation. He is in such good hands here at Primary Children's. He's going to be OK."

Doctors say there aren't a lot of warning signs about this condition. In Logan's case, there were none. Unexplained fainting spells should be checked out. [CLICK HERE for more information]

But Logan's, prognosis looks great, which is a huge relief to his family, his friends and everyone at his school.



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Sam Penrod


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