A PE teacher’s job interview turned into a matter of life and death when she helped to revive a pupil who collapsed after suffering a heart attack.
Emma Denham was being observed taking a class as part of her interview at Mountbatten School, in Romsey, when 16-year-old Sam Mangoro’s heart stopped, sending him into cardiac arrest.
Quick-thinking Emma, and three members of staff, ran to his aid and restarted his heart using a defibrillator which the school had purchased only a few months before.
Sam is now coming out of a medically-induced coma, and his parents are hopeful he will make a full recovery.
His father, Michael, said: “We would like to thank every single member of staff from the school from the bottom of our hearts.
“They have given us our son back, because without them we wouldn’t have him.
“The treatment he received at the school from the teachers was absolutely incredible and that’s given him every fighting chance.”
The drama happened on Thursday afternoon of last week, while Emma was being observed by teachers – Jon Neale and deputy head Joanna Scott – as she took a class in the gym.
After the children had warmed up, Sam stopped breathing suddenly and collapsed.
Within seconds, he was being given CPR by Emma, support staff and first-aiders, Lyn Lovell and Janet Barrett and assistant deputy head, Mark Chance.
The teenager had to be shocked four times to restart his heart and paramedics were able to get him into an ambulance and to Southampton General Hospital.
Mrs Scott said: “Everything just seemed to be in slow motion, but we just did everything we possibly could. Autopilot sets in and you get on with what you need to do.”
Head teacher, Heather McIlroy, received a call from a consultant treating Sam to praise her staff for saving the teenager’s life.
Mrs McIlroy, said: “It is a wonderful story of having the right equipment and the trained staff who had the courage to take action.”
She added: “The entire school community is thinking about Sam and his parents and are looking forward to getting him back.”
Sam’s parents, Michael and Lynda, who have three younger sons, took a break from their bedside vigil to visit the school on Friday to personally thank the staff.
Michael, from Romsey, said: “Had he being walking home from school alone, or if the school hadn’t had a defibrillator, it could have been a lot different.”
This is not Sam’s first health scare. When he was just 10 days old, he was left fighting for his life when a virus damaged his heart, causing him to need medication for the rest of his life.
His parents were warned that he would need a heart transplant by the time he was 10, but Sam proved them wrong and this is the first time his condition has caused a cardiac arrest.
The school has also been commended by the head of education at Hampshire County Council, Councillor Peter Edgar, who said: “I wish Sam a safe and successful recovery and am delighted that one of our schools has been complimented by the health profession that they carried out correct life-saving procedures.
“The school should be congratulated for the action they took during what must have been very traumatic circumstances.”
Every school should have a defib...
ONLY a handful of Hampshire schools are thought to have the equipment on site that saved the life of teenager, Sam Mangoro.
Mountbatten has ordered two more to cover the whole campus and will train more staff to use them on top of the 20 already able to do so.
Mrs McIlroy said: “We have some elderly people accessing the school for community purposes, so we wanted provision should anything happen to one of them. I have also received a lot of emails from staff asking to be trained.”
There is currently no law enforcing schools to have the equipment on site, but
Mrs McIlroy said she hoped to change that and is already contacting MPs.
Romsey and Southampton North MP, Caroline Nokes, who raised the issue in the House of Comons, said: “There are a lot of schools around the country that do not have this technology and clearly it was having this defibrillator that saved this boy’s life.
“They are reasonably priced and clearly well worth it in Mountbatten’s case and I think we have to look at good ways of finding this funding and getting it into as many schools as possible.”