DMPS Second Grader Survives Near Fatal Seizure Thanks to School Nurse

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DES MOINES, Iowa — A Des Moines Public School nurse is being hailed a hero after saving a student’s life.

The nurse says she owes her ability to act fast to the school district’s training.

“You never know when you walk in the door,” nurse Voorhis said. “Anything from falls to scratches to bloody noses.”

Friday, April 26th is a day Voorhis says she’ll never forget.

“Screamed my name so I followed her, and I don’t think we have ever run so fast to the cafeteria,” Voorhis said. “I saw a student on the floor. I was told that she had a seizure and I didn’t have a name yet and when I looked at her I didn’t know who she was and very discolored, eyes where fixed, lips were turning purple, and I felt immediately and there was no pulse.”

Though she was in shock, Voorhis was quick to act.

“I had to get an airway open there was no airway, I did not hear anything and no pulse, so I went right into CPR immediately,” Voorhis said.

After two minutes of performing chest compressions, Voorhis said, “She let out this very loud wail which was the most wonderful wail ever to my ears.”

The student was second-grader Samantha Rickers.

“Really thankful,” Samantha Rickers said.

It was a scary call for Samantha’s parents to receive.

“I thought my daughter was going to be gone,” mom Jessica Rickers said.

Jessica Rickers says Nurse Voorhis and others are the reason her daughter Samantha is back in class.

But there are still some unanswered questions.

“Nothing they can find they are calling it a fluke they are calling it epilepsy, so she is taking medication every morning and every night,” Jessica Rickers said.

Now Voorhis says she and Samantha are bonded for life and hopes, this is the last time she ever has to save a student’s life.


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