American Heart Association Gives National Award to CCHS Staff

The American Heart Association joined the Canyons Board of Education on Tuesday in lauding the educators and support staff at Corner Canyon High who used CPR and an Automated External Defibrillator to revive a 14-year-old student who had suffered cardiac arrest at school.  

At a Feb. 21, 2017 meeting in the Board Chambers of the Canyons Administration Building-East, the association gave national HeartSaver Hero awards to Corner Canyon High Principal Darrell Jensen, Assistant Principal Christian Cowart, teacher Elisa Posey, school nurse Nancy Purcell and hall monitor Joyce Spencer for their life-saving efforts when student Porter Lewis collapsed during a physical education class. 

Through tears, and with more than a few embraces, Lewis helped hand out the awards, which included special pins that the association bestows only on those whose heroic actions contribute to the “chain of survival” for heart attack victims.

“I just want to say to thanks to everyone who helped save my life,” an emotional Lewis said after presenting the honors.  “I am just very grateful to be here.” 

On Jan. 10, the school called 911 and rushed to help Lewis when teacher Elisa Posey noticed the 14-year-old student slumping against a way. While Posey cleared the area of other students, Jensen, Cowart, Spencer and Purcell rushed to assist Lewis, who was unconscious and had stopped breathing. The AED was used to revive Lewis, who does not have any known medical conditions. Other emergency actions were taken to aid Lewis before the paramedics arrived at about 10 a.m. to administer care.

The quick actions of the staff and administrators, coupled with training and the immediate availability of an AED may have saved Lewis’ life.

Porter’s survival was as close to a miracle as it gets, explained Marc Watterson, Government Relations Director for the Utah chapter of the American Heart Association. Each year in the U.S., there are approximately 359,400 Emergency Medical Services-assessed cardiac arrests outside of a hospital setting, and on average, fewer than 10 percent of the victims survive, Watterson said.

Defibrillation, along with CPR, is the only way to restore the victim’s heart rhythm to normal in a lot of cases of cardiac arrest. Yet only 17 percent of the nation’s schools and government offices make AED’s available in their facilities.

Canyons placed AEDs at all of its schools four years ago under the direction of Canyons Risk Management Coordinator Kevin Ray, who maintains them to ensure they’re in working order.  Ray also received an award from the association.

“Tonight was a good example of how much our teachers and staff care,” said Board President Sherril H. Taylor.  “Porter is a great young man .. He has a lot left to do in this life – and now he has the chance to do it.”  

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