Marked Tree student saves strangers life

Sunday, October 13, 2013

On Monday, Sept. 3, Marked Tree High School senior Ericha Clark received her certification in CPR, not knowing that she would put those skills to use soon after training. On Friday of the same week, Clark was able to save the life of a total stranger at a high school football game.

"It was at halftime during the football game that I heard a lot of people screaming," Clark said. "I saw there was a crowd around this woman, and she had completely collapsed on the ground."

From dealing with family members with health conditions, Clark thought the woman was having a seizure. She said many of the by-standers were in shock and upset by the situation. Remembering what she had learned earlier in the week, Clark began to take action.

"I checked for a pulse first. Then, I checked her breathing," she said. "From class, I knew I needed to open her airways."

Clark performed CPR on the woman that she had never met before, and saved her life.

"She started throwing up, and I knew that was good because she could breath," Clark said.

Shortly after Clark revived her breathing, the paramedics made it to the scene. Clark said she had never seen the woman before, nor had anyone around her. She assumes the stranger was with the visiting football team.

Laura Cook, the CPR certified instructor that taught Clark, said she was very excited to learn of what one of her students had done.

"Ive taught this for about 5 years, and this is the first time Ive ever heard of a student actually saving someones life from what they learned," Cook said.

In the 45 minute CPR lesson, Cook said her main concern was for students to know what to do and when to do it. She stressed making sure the area is safe, breathing and how to do compressions.

"I wanted to make sure they felt comfortable enough to perform CPR when they left that classroom if they had to," she said.

Cook has heard stories of people collapsing in public places, and receiving no CPR until medical assistance arrived. She stressed to the students at Marked Tree the importance of doing something to help if they ever find themselves in a situation where CPR is needed.

Cook taught roughly 40 seniors at Marked Tree High School. The school has asked her to come back at the end of October to teach the juniors.

Clark said the whole experience has motivated her even more to fulfill her dream of becoming a registered nurse. She has plans to attend the University of Arkansas at Little Rock after graduation.

"It felt like it all came natural," Clark said.

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