Williamsport teacher helps save custodian’s life

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Williamsport teacher helps save custodian’s life

Voice: November 2018

It has been several years since kindergarten teacher Pamela Nolan became certified in CPR, but fortunately for a custodian in her school she remembered the basics.

Nolan was working late on lesson plans one evening last April at Hepburn-Lycoming Primary School in the Williamsport Area School District, Lycoming County, when custodian Ann Folly stuck her head in Nolan’s classroom to say hello.

About 15 minutes later, she heard another custodian screaming, “Something has happened to Ann.’’

She followed the custodian to another wing of the building, where she found Folly lying face down in a pool of blood. (It was later determined she had a heart attack and hit her head when she fell.)

Another person called 911, and the dispatcher asked if anyone knew CPR. The phone was then handed to Nolan, who was instructed to roll Folly over to see if she was breathing. She wasn’t, and Nolan said she heard gurgling sounds.

Emergency personnel were dispatched, and in the meantime Nolan remained on the line with the dispatcher who walked her through the CPR procedure.

“I had never used CPR, and it had been several years since I was certified, but I remembered the basics,’’ Nolan said.

Administering CPR can be physically demanding, and the 911 dispatcher asked if anyone could relieve her, but there wasn’t anyone.

“I did chest compressions for 10 minutes, but it seemed a lot longer,’’ Nolan said. “It was very scary.’’

When the emergency personnel arrived, they took over the CPR and used an automatic external defibrillator, or AED, to shock Folly. Paramedics eventually had to perform “rescue breathing’’ by inserting a tube in her trachea. A faint pulse was detected, and Folly was rushed to a waiting ambulance and on to the hospital.

It all turned out well. Folly recovered and visited Nolan to thank her on the final day of school last spring.

For her efforts, Nolan received a Life Saving Award from the Old Lycoming Township Police Department.

In a story about Nolan’s efforts in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, Police Chief Joseph Hope praised the teacher’s actions.

“She played a critical role,’’ Hope said. “Her actions saved the life of a co-worker.’’