Elementary School Nurse Uses Tourniquet to Save a Nine-Year-Old Student From Life Threatening Bleeding in Playground Accident
March 30, 2018
The only thing more tragic than a death is a death that could have been prevented.
In life, there are certain moments when one is forced into action. When crisis arises, and one is left with a split second to react, the only questions left to answer are how the problem is to be faced and what the outcome will be.
Such a pivotal moment came for Cumming Elementary School nurse Kathy Gregory on March 16, and when it did she reacted quickly, effectively and saved the life of a child at her school.
“I happened to be standing out in the hallway, outside the clinic, and a teacher turned the corner with a … panicked look on her face, and honestly all I can remember hearing was, ‘come quick, there’s blood everywhere,’” Gregory said.
A little girl, 9-year-old Jennifer Leon-Lopez, had fallen on the playground and through a “freak accident” had broken her arm so badly that an artery had been punctured. She was rapidly losing blood from the wound.
Gregory said that one day prior to the incident, she had received a shipment of emergency tourniquet kits from Stop the Bleed — a program aiming to train bystanders to respond to emergencies — and that after hearing about the child she grabbed one of the kits and sprang into action.
“I could just tell, even though she had on long sleeves, from the pattern of the blood and the amount of blood that was there in such a short time, that we needed to stop the bleeding,” she said.
Gregory said that by the time she reached the playground and began administering the tourniquet to Leon-Lopez’s arm, other staff members had cleared the playground and contacted emergency services.
“Within 20 minutes they were loading her on the ambulance and were able to get her to medical care,” she said.
Forsyth County News did not interview the family of Leon-Lopez due to a language barrier and press time schedules.
Gregory said that she and nurses from other schools in Forsyth County received their training with the emergency tourniquets in January as part of the Stop the Bleed School Response Program.
For Gregory, the incident was a wakeup call: everyone, not just school medical staff, needs to know how to use the kits in case another accident happens.
“This was a freak accident. It could not only happen at a school, it could happen anywhere ... I’m a huge advocate for these [tourniquet kits] now. I would say that if you have someone who can train your staff … go ahead and do it, because you never know when something like this could happen,” she said.
- Blue Monster Prep