Midland Teacher Presented with Heartsaver Hero Award After Saving Student’s Life
Pictured center are Landon Stanford, sixth grader at Jefferson Middle School, and teacher Brent Doty (on his left) at the ceremony for Doty’s Heartsaver Hero Award. They are surrounded by the additional individuals who played a part in helping Landon survive a heart event on his school grounds.
Teachers are sometimes referred to as lifesavers when it comes to helping students excel in the classroom, but Brent Doty never expected to use his CPR training to literally save a life on the grounds of Jefferson Middle School in Midland.
Like his co-workers, Doty had been trained in emergency preparedness, including CPR. When two friends of sixth grader Landon Stanford ran to Doty explaining that he had passed out on the playground and they didn’t think he was breathing, Doty didn’t hesitate. He got to Stanford as quickly as he could, asking a colleague to dial 911 as he prepared to begin compressions.
“It had been a little while since my last training,” said Doty. “But the dispatcher stayed on the line with me and talked me through it. She gave instructions and helped me stay calm. I was so focused that I don’t remember my colleague asking whether he could take over for me, and my turning him down. I had gotten Landon to take a few shallow breaths, so I guess I felt like I needed to stick with it.” In fact, Doty was so dialed in, he delivered compressions with the phone sandwiched between his neck and shoulder the whole time; the thought of putting the dispatcher on speaker phone didn’t enter his mind.
Fortunately, an ambulance was in close proximity to the school when they received the call. It took an EMS team only eight minutes to reach Stanford. When they did, they were required to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) to restart his heart. Midland’s police and fire departments were also on the scene to assist EMS in getting Stanford ready for transport to the Emergency Department at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland.
He had a pulse and his breathing was being assisted by EMS with bag valve mask ventilation. “Mr. Doty performed bystander CPR, which kept his blood circulating through his heart and delivered vital oxygen to his brain and other organs until the first responders arrived,” said Heather Bartlett, B.S.N., R.N., a clinical nurse specialist in the Emergency Department at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland. “If he had not begun CPR as quickly as he did, it could have caused irreversible brain damage or death. He truly was one of the critical links in the chain of survival for Landon that day.”
Emergency Medicine Physician Emily McLaren, M.D., intubated Stanford. “The emergency team was so great,” said Brandie Stanford, Landon’s mother. “While we waited for them to stabilize Landon, they were so calm and caring, very professional. I can’t say enough about the staff there.” Stanford was transported via helicopter to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor in critical, yet stable condition. Mott’s is affiliated with MidMichigan’s partners at Michigan Medicine, the health care division of the University of Michigan.
Today, Stanford is active and has resumed his normal activities. The incident he survived remains unexplained, but he now has a defibrillator implanted should something similar happen again. “We had been told that all the stars aligned to save Landon: his friends, teachers, the dispatcher, EMS and the team at the Medical Center were all at the right place at the right time to help him,” said Brandie. “It was text book, and that was obvious when we gathered for the presentation of Mr. Doty’s award. All the participants involved in Midland that day were there, and it was really powerful. We are so grateful.”
Doty was presented with the American Heart Association’s Heartsaver Hero Award in recognition of his quick action in an emergency. The ceremony was held outside at the school with Stanford’s family and all the players from that day. “It was emotional,” said Doty. “I had hoped what I had done was enough to help Landon to the next step. To see him back to walking the halls of the school with his friends, well, that’s a pretty incredible feeling.”
The American Heart Association offers CPR training classes all across the country. Those interested in more information on community training dates hosted by MidMichigan Health may visit www.midmichigan.org/communitycpr or call Education Services and Development at (989) 839-1954. Those who would like to learn more about the American Heart Association may visit www.heart.org.