April 3, 2023

School Nurse and Teacher Save Student Who Went Into Cardiac Arrest

School Nurse and Teacher Save Student Who Went Into Cardiac Arrest

Image source: The Courier Herald

School Nurse and Teacher Save Student Who Went Into Cardiac Arrest

Lissa Strecker, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) from Buckley, Washington, was presented the Life Saving Award by the Enumclaw Fire Department for her part in helping save the life of an Enumclaw Middle School student.  

School Nurse Saves Student in Cardiac Arrest

Vivan Pearlman, a student at Enumclaw Middle School in Enumclaw, Washington suffers from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Vivan experienced an episode of cardiac arrest on October 17, 2022, just before history class. 

Substitute teacher Beth Madill was watching over the class at the time of Vivan’s cardiac arrest. She immediately stepped in and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Lissa Strecker, the school nurse, promptly responded with the automated external defibrillator (AED) and administered one shock with the AED, restarting Vivan’s heart. 

“I kind of went into autopilot, knowing that I am trained to do this,” Madill said. “I felt like time stood slow, and I was able to think and methodically go through everything. I did have a sense of calm, until much later.”

Vivan was stabilized by emergency medical services (EMS) and airlifted from the school to Seattle Children’s Hospital. In a previous interview, Rebecca, Vivan’s mother, said, “Seattle Children’s Hospital says that her school is a hero and that they haven’t seen that response…this is not usually the outcome. Usually, children don’t get shocked in time, or no one knows CPR, and they don’t survive. With cardiac arrest, the only survival is CPR and being shocked. You can’t do one or the other.”  

Vivan underwent surgery for nine hours on October 19th, her 12th birthday. She had surgery to implant an internal defibrillator, but she has since recovered and is now back at school. 

At the Enumclaw School District board meeting on March 20, 2023, Lissa Strecker and Beth Madill were awarded a Life Saving Award by the Enumclaw Fire Department for helping save the life of Vivan Pearlman.   

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Enumclaw Community Honors School Nurse and Teacher

The heroism of Lissa Strecker and Beth Madill is spreading across social media. The Enumclaw Fire Department shared Lissa and Beth’s recognition on its Facebook page, calling them “two amazing women…true heroes.” 

Enumclaw Middle School also posted on its Facebook page about the awards, stating “We are so proud of our staff members who are heroes each and every day at EMS!” 

Lissa’s mother, Lori Walker, also posted on Facebook about her daughter’s recognition, stating “I’m so PROUD of her, and I’m glad she was honored tonight!” Numerous congratulatory comments follow Walker’s post, like the one from Andrea Marie states, “She really is one of the best humans in this world!!! She deserves to be celebrated and honored! I am honored to call her friend!” 

According to a Facebook post by Vivan’s mother, “If she (Vivan) had not received an AED shock, her chance of survival would have been 2-5%...she turned 12 because her school, and the staff inside it, were prepared.”  

School Nurses and AEDs Make a Difference 

School nurses and AEDs are vital resources to have in any school setting. Lissa’s story is a prime example of what a difference it can make when a school nurse is available to respond to emergencies with proper equipment. Like Lissa, Rhaeann Shepler recently saved a pregnant teacher at Trafford Middle School who went into cardiac arrest. She also used an AED.  


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