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Florida school resource officer, nurse save life of student who collapsed on campus

Deputy and Nurse Save Student's Life
Posted at 8:08 AM, Aug 30, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — It was a frantic few minutes for a Florida high school resource officer and nurse as they worked to save a student’s life last week. It was all captured on body cam video provided by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

“Wake up baby! Wake up baby! Take a breath baby! Take a breath baby! There we go," Alicia Robertson can be heard saying.

“It felt like an eternity,” said Deputy William Mellana.

Around 3 p.m. ET last Tuesday, Robertson was crossing the campus of Wharton High School in Tampa when she was told a student collapsed outside.

“I turned him over and assessed him and realized that his pulse was weak and thready,” said Robertson.

She quickly called deputy Mellana over who also called for backup, but in the meantime, they knew he needed immediate life-saving care.

“He had what I was trained as agonal breathing,” said Mellana. “So, it looked like he was breathing, it looked like his eyes were open, it would appear like he was responding to the nurse's chest sternum rubs, but the reality is he wasn’t. He was out. He was done. And that’s what the AED told us.”

The decision to pull out the AED saved his life. The student was in cardiac arrest. Agonal breathing is the body’s natural reflex to gasp for air and get oxygen when the brain isn’t getting what it needs to survive.

“The AED provided a shock and then it said CPR, so we just did CPR until EMS arrived,” said Mellana.

It’s the first time either of them has used the AED at school and it did exactly what it was supposed to do. That student is doing extremely well.

“Yeah, he’s back at school, he’s back at school like nothing happened,” Mellana said.

Sheriff Chad Chronister said it’s a prime example of how important training is: "Deputy Mellana's actions are a shining example of the heroism and composure under pressure that law enforcement officers must display every day. We are incredibly grateful that the first aid training each of our deputies receives was able to help this young man make it back home to his family.”

This story was originally published by Heather Leigh at WFTS.