School & Firefighter Save Student during Softball Game

Posted by cocreator on April 17, 2009
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We will be reporting on lives saved around the world since our first documented life saved here in Singapore.

Shocked teammates of the Delray Beach school, huddled in right field in a post-game meeting, had no idea what was happening Wednesday night after the team’s 5-4 win at West Boca High. Some screamed she was having a seizure. Claire Dunlap was not breathing.

“We were all laughing and were having a fun time before she fell down,” Heritage-Delray senior catcher Lauryn Wright told the Sun Sentinel.

“At first we didn’t think anything was wrong until she began convulsing like she couldn’t catch her breath.”

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Capt. Roberto Grau who was watching his son finish a baseball game at a nearby field, came running over.

“I took a peek over there and saw a bunch of people gathered around somebody laying in the outfield,” said Grau, who has worked for Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue for 18 years, plus an additional three years in fire service.

As soon as I looked at her I knew she was in cardiac arrest. I thought if she’s not coded, she’s about there.”

“People were in the panic mode,” said Grau, a 22-year veteran. “They were hysterical. I don’t think anybody really knew what was going on.”

With the school’s trainer, Grau placed an oxygen mask on Dunlap and then checked her pulse. There was none. They reached for an automatic external defibrillator, which the trainer carried in her golf cart, in an effort to revive her heart.

“We turned it on and it did its thing,” said Grau who helped the school’s trainer administer the shocks.

After three jolts, Grau saw her chest begin to rise, but she remained unconscious. Three minutes after she passed out, paramedics arrived.

Robert Stone is the Headmaster of the American Heritage School. He says, “I think they were trying regular CPR and she was not responding. She was at great risk and if they had not had that (defibrillator) she might not have made it.”

“No prior warning at all in fact she had a perfect day at school. I was with her for part of the time working on a project.”

Dunlap, 15, remains in intensive care at West Boca Medical Center, where the sophomore will undergo tests to determine what caused an apparent seizure that stopped her breathing and then her heart, Headmaster Robert Stone said.


Sarah Donner hugs Claire Dunlap

Sarah Donner hugs Claire Dunlap

In the American Heritage Delray 2A regional game Tuesday night, the team takes the field except for center fielder Claire Dunlap.

Dunlap stands in the dugout not because she’s benched and not because of grades, but because two weeks ago, she died.

“People were screaming ‘She’s having a seizure’ so immediately I said to one of the kids in class ‘Please go get the AED’ as I was running over there and when I got there I could tell it wasn’t a normal seizure. Something was wrong with her. I checked for breathing. I checked her pulse and she was unresponsive,” says Donner.

“I remember her mom holding her hand screaming ‘You have to save Claire, you have to save her’ and I remember thinking to myself… You have to do something to help this girl,” says Donner.

“Most of the time we take them to the hospital. We really don’t hear the end result so for this, kinda hit home, because I’m a baseball coach and we get to see the girls come in and out from the softball field so we have a little bit more tie to this and seeing the end result with Claire just making it better for us to see that she’s doing ok now,” says Manriquez.

“I’m just glad that we were able to make such a difference in a young person’s life,” says Grau.

Dunlap will have a better idea of when she can return to sports in about six weeks.

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