Family thankful for school AED and CPR training

October 13, 2015 seemed like a normal evening at Loganville Christian Academy in Loganville, Ga. Eric and Lisa Crawford were in the spectator stands as their 17-year-old daughter, Claire, competed in a senior night volleyball game in the school’s gym. A few seconds after serving the ball, however, Claire Crawford clutched her chest, stumbled, and fell to the ground with a sickening thud.

No one expects a teenager to suffer sudden cardiac arrest —but that’s exactly what happened to Claire that night. Julie Sirmans, an academic dean at the school, recalls being terrified. However, thanks to the school’s Code Blue Team, which trains together three times a year to handle emergencies, Julie had been trained to handle the unexpected. The Code Blue Team had practiced life-saving drills more than a dozen times since the school acquired a ZOLL AED Plus®, an automated external defibrillator. Her training kicked in: She ran for the ZOLL® AED as athletic trainer Mallory McQuaig began CPR. The dean, the trainer and several parents worked together to save Claire.

Within 30 seconds of Claire’s collapse, Julie was at Claire’s side with the AED. Claire was in V-fib, a rhythm than can only be corrected by a shock from a defibrillator. With the device’s alarm sounding, Julie administered the shock.

Four and a half minutes after her collapse, Claire opened her eyes and spoke. Her parents were understandably relieved to see her revived. Later, in the hospital, Claire was found to have an undiagnosed heart condition that required triple bypass surgery.

Claire’s story could have ended in devastation for her family and friends. Two weeks earlier, she was travelling in Honduras, where she says she would probably not have survived. Luckily, when it happened she was in a place that had an AED and where she was able to be treated immediately. Thanks to some everyday heroes who worked together to save her life, Claire is now a college student and an advocate for the placement of AEDs in schools and other public places.

As part of ZOLL’s Heroes for Life program, Claire was given the opportunity to donate a ZOLL AED Plus to a charity of her choosing. Claire chose to donate an AED to Grand View Christian School in Des Moines, Iowa, where she attended school.

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