EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 8, 2013

Editorial: School nurse’s professionalism saved the day

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Kudos to a school nurse who reacted to a crisis in a calm and collected manner and saved a man’s life.

Tara Hayes is a nurse at Salem’s Haigh School, where her days usually consist of treating about three dozen children and their headaches, sick stomachs and scrapes.

But last Monday, things were dramatically different. A school janitor passed by her office and Hayes noticed the 62-year-old man was very pale. The janitor suddenly collapsed, grabbing a nearby cart to support himself.

“He was holding on for dear life,” Hayes told our reporter.

Hayes, 41, a nurse at the school for six years, and paraprofessional JoMarie Curtis ran to help. The man lost consciousness. Someone called 911 and Hayes began using an automated external defibrillator to shock his heart. Other school employees came to help.

Nothing happened with the initial shock from the defibrillator. Hayes began cardiopulmonary resuscitation and then used the defibrillator again. The janitor began to regain consciousness.

The man was rushed by ambulance to Holy Family Hospital in Methuen where he was recovering last week. Both he and his wife thanked Hayes.

“I was just glad to hear his voice,” Hayes said. “I was just glad I could help.”

The defibrillators were donated to the school district six years ago. They were never needed until this incident.

School, police and fire officials praised Hayes for her action.

“She did an outstanding job,” police Deputy Chief Shawn Patten said. “I give her all the credit.”

Hayes said she’s a bit overwhelmed by all the praise from her colleagues.

“The whole thing is surreal,” she said. “I don’t like all this attention.”

Hayes said that, although she has been a professional nurse for years, she still worries that she might panic.

We suggest her worries are unnecessary. When the chips were down, Hayes did not panic. She reacted professionally and saved the day.

Kudos on a job well done.