Original article by Jean Laroche · CBC News · Posted: Jun 01, 2022 2:53 PM AT | Last Updated: June 2
When Grade 2 student Sofia Gouthro collapsed during gym class in December 2020, a school employee carried her to the office at Mount Edward Elementary School in Dartmouth, N.S.
Vice-principal and Grade 5 teacher Rebecca Stickings knew exactly what to do. The CPR training she first learned as a teenage camp counsellor in Madawaska, Maine, kicked in.
“You just go into autopilot with training and you remember the stuff that’s necessary,” said Sticking who, with the help of a 911 medical communications officer giving directions, kept Gouthro’s blood flowing from her no-longer-beating heart until paramedics arrived.
“They did use a portable AED [automated external defibrillator] that they had on site at that time to revive her,” recounted Sticking.
“When she left the school she was breathing and she had a pulse,” she said. “We were very, very happy about that.”
“The key to improving survival rates involves equipping Nova Scotians with the skills and equipment needed to provide a layer of protection to cardiac arrest victims when an emergency strikes,” said Rand. “We want to create a generation of heroes through embedding CPR, AED education into the school system”
The national organization is hoping to start pilot projects in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, as early as the next school year, teaching junior high and high school students how to save people who experience a cardiac arrest.
Stickings has had CPR refresher training provided by St. John Ambulance since becoming a teacher, but her experience with Sofia has cemented the value of learning the life-saving skill.
In fact, she discussed it with her own children the day she helped save Sofia.
“The first thing I did when I went home that evening was speak to my own two children about the importance of CPR and first aid training and insist they had to have it at some point in their lifetime,” she said. “My son will probably do his training next year and my daughter would like to do it at some point as well.”