When Nurse Bernadette Bagni was summoned to a departing bus at Benjamin A. Friedman Middle School to assist a student who became unconscious, she didn’t anticipate the severity of the need for help. Immediately upon seeing 12-year old Brooke Conlon slumped in her seat, she recognized the signs of sudden cardiac arrest. As a certified CPR instructor, Bagni knew to immediately call 911, ask for an AED, and start chest compressions.
Nurse Bagni arrived at the bus to find that Principal Chris Baratta and Assistant Principal Chris Oliver had already moved all of the students, enabling her to quickly attend to Brooke. After Baratta and Oliver moved Brooke to the bus aisle, Nurse Bagni began performing chest compressions and breathing, which she continued until the AED arrived.
After turning on the AED, Nurse Bagni followed its simple instructions to apply the pads, and wait while it analyzed Brooke’s heart rhythm. When the AED instructed Bagni to administer a shock, she made sure no one was touching the patient, and then pressed the shock button. Thereafter she followed the prompts to continue chest compressions, while a second school nurse, Nancy Vincent, provided artificial respiration.
“CPR buys you time until an AED and EMS (Emergency Medical Services) arrive,” says Nurse Bagni, who is now Nurse Manager for the Taunton School District. “If you simply follow the prompts on the AED, you can’t go wrong.”
Paramedics arrived within 10 minutes of the call. While she did have a steady heart rhythm, Brooke was not breathing on her own when she was transported to the hospital.
Brooke has since returned to school and has recently celebrated her 13th birthday.
All schools in Massachusetts’ Taunton Public School district are equipped with AEDs. Benjamin Friedman Middle School currently has two HeartSine AEDs on the campus that serves just under 800 students plus faculty and staff.
“Like many of the stories we hear from our customers, saving Brooke was a team effort,” says Stephen Garrett, HeartSine’s vice-president of Sales and Marketing. “Not only should Taunton School District be applauded for equipping its schools with life-saving AEDs, we are pleased that the team at Benjamin A. Friedman Middle School knew exactly how to handle the situation for the best outcome: from the school secretary who called 911, the principal who retrieved the AED, the assistant principal who moved the other students off the bus and kept them calm, both principals who lifted Brooke to the bus aisle, and the nurses who performed CPR and used our AED. HeartSine is pleased to have been part of that team.”
As a result of HeartSine’s Forward Hearts program which enables those saved by a HeartSine AED to donate an AED to the organization of their choice, Brooke has donated a HeartSine samaritan PAD 350P to the school. In addition to serving the middle school, the donated AED will be readily available to the community including local organizations that utilize the school auditorium and gym for community events.