Teachers save girl, 12, who went into cardiac arrest at Long Island school

LEVITTOWN, N.Y. -- A young girl from Long Island is recovering and thankful that she had a few guardian angels looking out for her.

Looking at 12-year-old Jessica Lemus now, you would have no idea that she nearly died two months ago.

"I just fainted," she said. "I don't remember."

Jessica was in class at Wisdom Lane Middle School in Levittown when she suddenly collapsed.

"When I got over to her, we noticed she wasn't breathing," science teacher Ann Marie Carlson said. "She had no pulse."

In fact, young Jessica's heart had stopped beating. A group of teachers quickly rushed in to help.

"You prepare for it, you learn it year after year, but you never think you're going to have to use it," science teacher Meghan Olsen said.

She was turning blue as the teachers began performing CPR.

"Even though I've taught it hundreds of times, when you're in that situation and everything is going through your head and trying to make sure that you're doing it correctly," health teacher Jordan Dasch said.

Jessica's heart stopped for seven minutes, and it took three shocks from a defibrillator to bring her back to life.

"Just to think, if we hadn't known what to do and everybody hadn't come in at the right time and the right place, then the outcome could have been different than it ended up being," Carlson said.

"Everybody communicated very well," health teacher Valerie Carrillo said. "There was no down time in processing."

"It was like a well-oiled machine, what happened here," school nurse Carol Fitzpatrick said. "And we're just so thankful that she was able to leave here alive."

The day after the incident, the school district decided to offer free CPR and AED training to all of it's teachers and staff.

"This is another key piece as a teacher to make us be that better person in the room," science teacher Carole Going said.

"They really did a great job," mom Reina Lemus said. "They really did the right thing, and thank God I have my daughter back."

After undergoing open heart surgery to fix a valve, Jessica is now at home recovering. But her teachers are never far from her thoughts.

"Thank you for everything," she said.
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