Medical Assisting Student Praised for Quick Response to Emergency
By: Candace Hall
It was just another Monday for Elissa Nystrom, of Brockton, who was waiting at the bus stop earlier this month with other Southeastern students. Circumstances changed very quickly, however, when a friend ran over to tell her that another student had fallen, hit his head, and appeared to be having a seizure.
Elissa, a junior studying Medical Assisting, said she was frightened at first, but was able to keep calm. She had witnessed that same student having a seizure before and she knew the most important thing was to keep him safe until help came. While another student called 911, she reached down beside the boy and turned his head to the side to prevent him from choking. She also held his head to keep him from hitting it against the ground.
“We had talked about seizures and I thought about what I should do. Once he settled down, I told him everything was going to be okay,” she said.
During that time, another student gave her the phone, and she was able to talk to the emergency dispatcher. She explained that the boy was bleeding from the fall, and the dispatcher told her to talk with him to keep him calm and prevent him from getting up and potentially injuring himself again. When her school bus arrived, she chose to stay with the boy until emergency responders could arrive. There was a lot of traffic on the street, so the driver had to leave, but she pulled over down the street to wait for her again. At that point, Elissa waved for the driver to leave. Other people also came to help, including people who lived nearby and had witnessed the scene.
After about 15 minutes, the boy was transported to the hospital in an ambulance. Elissa then called her mother, who gave her a ride to school, but by the time she arrived, she was late. Being humble, she neglected to tell the office staff that she had a good reason for being late so she was marked tardy. That quickly changed, however, when news got out about her rescue efforts.
“All we heard was that she refused to get on the bus, and she didn’t tell us about the circumstances. When she later explained what happened, we not only took away the tardy, but I am now buying lunch for her and three friends,” said Principal David Degan.
Mr. Degan praised Elissa for “stepping up and doing something for all the right reasons.” Her vocational teacher, Alison Rosa, agreed.
“She told me the whole story when she came to class, but she didn’t make a big deal out of it. She absorbs everything in class and I am so proud of her,” she said.
The student who had the seizure is now doing well and back at school. Meanwhile Elissa, who hopes to be a nurse practitioner, said the event made her more confident that she is on the right career path. She is also excited about her upcoming lunch.
“This is a real honor, and I’m looking forward to it,” she said.