Three teachers help save boy's life after accident
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Three teachers at Mary Haddow Elementary School are credited with saving the life of a first-grader who severed an artery in his arm when he put his right elbow through a window at the school.
Principal Kathleen Good said she witnessed what she described as a freak accident as children were leaving the cafeteria during lunch period Wednesday.
She said three teachers who responded to a call for help administered first aid and slowed the loss of blood until an ambulance arrived to take him to St. Elizabeth Health Center.
Without their help, the boy might have bled to death, the principal said, crediting special education teacher Cathy Cammack, preschool teacher Shari Zackasee and substitute teacher Judy Eiland with saving his life.
"It was just a freak accident," Good said.
Mary Haddow, which is more than 40 years old, has small, thick panes of glass in its interior doors.
To her knowledge, none of those panes had ever broken before Wednesday, Good said.
How it happened
She was standing near the door just outside the cafeteria when the first-grader, who was walking backward, hit one of the panes of glass with his elbow.
Good said she heard the glass break and saw the elbow come through the opening.
Within seconds, she knew the boy had been seriously injured as he ran toward her, blood dripping from his wound.
Good said she yelled to a nearby first-grade teacher, Joyce Wiggins, to call 911 and directed another pupil, Treyvonn Harrison, a fourth-grader, to go for help as she guided the injured boy into the school office.
Treyvonn located Cammack, Zackasee and Eiland within 30 seconds, and they kept the injured pupil calm and controlled the bleeding, Good said.
They knew the injury was life-threatening but didn't panic and got the job done, Good said.
Every school in the Youngstown system is required to have a crisis-response plan in place with a team of employees designated to provide first aid and other emergency services.
That preparation paid off Wednesday, Good said. It was the first time the three teachers, who are members of Haddow's team, had to deal with an emergency of that magnitude, she said.
The first-grader, whom Good declined to identify, had to undergo emergency surgery to repair the injured artery. It took 68 surgical staples to close the wound, she said.
The boy was out of the hospital, though not back in class yet, she said Friday. His mother, however, brought him by the school Thursday so everyone could see him. The boy is right-handed, and Good said doctors told his mother that it didn't appear he had suffered any permanent injury to his arm.