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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Teacher saves dying student with CPR

By Nikki Dowling
A Riverdale resident and former John F. Kennedy teacher and coach saved a student’s life at Lincoln High School in Yonkers, N.Y. on Oct. 27.

Charles Hill, an earth science teacher at the school who coached basketball, soccer and baseball at Kennedy until about four years ago, said he entered the gym where students were playing basketball after school to see an 11th-grade male student lying on the floor.

“I went over and checked his vitals. He continued to breathe but it was still a labored breathing and he passed out and he stopped breathing. I shook him and spoke to him and then he came back,” Mr. Hill, 51, said in a phone interview on Oct. 29.

Then, the teacher said the student stopped breathing again. And this time, he had no pulse.

Mr. Hill said he called for a defibrillator and immediately began CPR. He was able to partially revive the student but said his eyes were still unfocused and he was not fully conscious. To keep him from choking, Mr. Hill said he rolled the student onto his side.

An ambulance arrived several minutes later and it was only then that Mr. Hill said he fully grasped what had happened.

“It wasn’t until afterwards — when the ETS workers had come in and they took over — that I … got nervous. I realized I was the difference between him living and maybe dying,” Mr. Hill said.

Mr. Hill said he has been a coach since 1971, and had never dealt with a situation where someone’s heart stopped. He said there were about 40 to 50 students in the gym, plus a coach and another teacher.

“People react differently under pressure and I’m the one that responded,” he said.

When he returned to school, Mr. Hill said the administrators at the school did not thank him but teachers, as well as the boy’s girlfriend, expressed their gratitude.

“The nicest thing was today [Oct. 29] the boy’s girlfriend came up to me and grabbed me by the hand with tears in her eyes and thanked me,” Mr. Hill recalled.

Although the student was still in the hospital on Oct. 29, Mr. Hill said he was recovering and undergoing tests to determine the cause of the incident.