On the afternoon of June 17, physical education teacher James Landsverk asked his students to run one mile in laps around the track.
James Landsverk the Saviour
During his second lap, soon-to-be sophomore Henry Flores collapsed and did not respond when nearby classmates called out his name.
Teacher James Landsverk told supervisors he saw the student’s eyes roll back and heard him gasping.
The teacher performed CPR, yelled for one student to call 911 and another to get the school’s automated external defibrillator.
The student running to get school nurse Celeste Dillard found her in her office. Dillard didn’t know why Flores had collapsed, so she grabbed an EpiPen, radio and medical basket.
“I ran down the hallway, past the office on purpose,” Dillard said. “I said, ‘Guys, there’s something happening down on the field. Turn your radios on.’”
Landsverk used the AED to shock the student’s heart muscles back into a regular rhythm.
Dillard had to run across not only half of the school but also the entire football field, because Flores had collapsed on the south side, away from the main entrance. She took over CPR until the ambulance arrived.
Within minutes, aid personnel were on scene and able to get Flores to breathe on his own.
“At that point, I go into a different mode,” Dillard said. “We have a parent to call, we have distraught students, a distraught teacher and three kids who were standing there.”
School staff ushered students into the gym, where counselors and the school psychologist were waiting for them.
“We gave a quick heads up to the students,” Dillard said. “We said, ‘He’s in good hands now. He’s alive. We’ll give you more information.’”
He was taken to Seattle Children’s Hospital Medical Center and is recovering, a district spokesman said.
Hazen students made a large “get well” banner for Flores to hang in his hospital room.
“When he was waking up, he was able to see the sign,” Dillard said. “His mom liked it, too.”
When Dillard called him a few days later, she was able to talk to Flores himself. He had no prior health condition known to the school and had made the mile-long run before with no problem.
Landsverk worked in the district for two years as a PE teacher and assistant football coach knew how to operate the AED after training he received last fall.
“I really just reacted and began doing what I’ve been trained to do,” Landsverk said in a press release. “I wanted Henry to be OK.”
Dillard praised Landsverk and his students for saving Flores’ life.
“It definitely takes teamwork,” she said. “No one person can stand alone, you must be team oriented.”