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Oak Lawn Community High School nurse’s quick actions help save student’s life

  • Written by Dermot Connolly

amy tucker photo 12-7

Amy Tucker

The Oak Lawn Community High School nurse is being credited with saving a student’s life using a portable defibrillator on Nov. 10.

According to a report from Detective Peter Hennessy, the school resource officer, when Amy Tucker, RN, was called to the gym when the student collapsed, she knew it was serious but no one knew how serious the situation was.

“But as Amy immediately responded, she not only grabbed her medical bag but the AED (automated defibrillator) from her office as well.”

Hennessy said that Tucker knelt by the student’s side, monitoring his condition, and immediately directed staff to call 911. But when the student became unresponsive, and went into cardiac arrest, she began CPR and got to work with the AED. She applied the shock 56 seconds after he became unresponsive.

“As Amy resumed CPR, to everyone’s wonderful surprise, (the student) regained consciousness. He left the school in an ambulance with not only his life back, but with the chance to enjoy close to the same quality of life that he walked into school with that morning,” said Hennessy in his report to staff and school board members.

According to reports, the student has since received a pacemaker and is recovering well.

“Amy Tucker is a fantastic school nurse. The addition of her to our staff this year has been amazing and we are proud to call her a Spartan,” said Assistant Principal Marcus Wargin on Tuesday.

“Amy makes a difference each and every day at Oak Lawn Community High School. We are grateful for her quick thinking, her ability to evaluate all medical situations, and her preparedness during an emergency.”

“Her quick thinking was instrumental in saving the student’s life. She was prepared and did not waste any time,” added Wargin. “We have three AEDs throughout the school, and one in the nurse’s office. Every school should have them if they don’t already.”

Tucker, who earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Northern Illinois University, worked at Edwards Hospital before coming to OLCHS this school year. In response to a request from a reporter, she issued a brief statement about the incident, downplaying her actions.

“As a school nurse, my job is to make sure the kids’ medical needs are tended to. This includes emergency situations just like the one we had here early November. The event was recognized quickly, and with great teamwork by the staff, it resulted in the best possible outcome.”