Student collapses from heart condition, AED saved his life

Published: Sep. 27, 2011 at 7:51 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2011 at 10:52 PM EDT
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School nurse Hillary Jackson and Jaden Baldwin.
School nurse Hillary Jackson and Jaden Baldwin.

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Berkeley County School Board honors the Roper Saint Francis Healthcare's Heartsave program, after a donation of more than a dozen lifesaving devices to schools in the district.

For one nine-year-old student, the device meant the difference between life and death.

"I was really excited because I'd never been to field day, it was a new thing for me," Jaden Baldwin said.

Jaden and school nurse Hillary Jackson are thankful they can walk the field together. It's the same place the nine-year-old collapsed and passed out on field day last spring.

"I don't remember really seeing anybody. You just hyper-focus on the child and try to focus on what's going on and give him help," Jackson said.

Not knowing what exactly what was wrong, nurse Jackson says she started CPR, then grabbed Jaden's prescribed Epipen in case it was an allergic reaction, and then brought out an Automated External Defibrillator or AED for short.

"Right after the shock his pulse came back and he started breathing on his own. He was still unconscious and remained unconscious when the EMTs came, then they transported him to the hospital," Jackson said.

Turns out Jaden has a hereditary irregular heartbeat that can cause sudden death.

Dr. William Grossman, of Roper Saint Francis Healthcare's Heartsave program, says it's very important to have life-saving AEDs in public places.

"Six hundred deaths a day occur in the country that are classed as sudden death and of cardiac origin. That's 450,000 or more per year. The majority are people that have previously undetected cardiac problems," Dr. Grossman said.

The device uses electric shock therapy to restore regular heart rhythm. It's a portable and battery powered device, and even provides voice prompts on how to use them.

Now a fourth grader, Baldwin is happy the school had an AED and happy to be back this year.

"I'm very thankful because like she said I would have died if she didn't have the machine," Jaden said.

Roper Saint Francis Heartsave program donated the device that saved Jaden's life. The program has donated more than 350 AEDs to local schools, churches, and other public places. These portable devices can cost up to $1,300 each. Heartsave offers groups with AEDs at discounted rates, if not free depending on the situation. For more information on how to get an AED, call (843) 402-CARE.

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