Some of the staff at Division Avenue High School are being hailed as heroes for helping to save a student’s life.
Haeleigh Ortiz nearly died after gym class on Oct. 17. She was in the girls locker room when she started complaining to her friend that she wasn’t feeling well. Her friend immediately ran to the nurse’s office for help where nurses Patty Leavy and Debbi Larkin were ready to respond.
“We immediately jump up, we grab our emergency bag and we just start going,” Leavy said. They found Ortiz collapsed on the locker room floor with no pulse and say she wasn’t breathing.
While the two nurses tended to Haeleigh, members of the school’s emergency response team rushed to the scene. Physical education teacher Brian Maloney ran into the locker room with an AED to resuscitate Ortiz. “I shocked her and then when all of the sudden it told me to start doing CPR, I began doing compressions and the nurses did the breathing,” said Dr. Thomas Tuchiano, the school psychologist.
Ortiz’s heart started beating again. Doctors say her seizure was caused by a genetic heart disorder. The Levittown student doesn’t remember the experience but is thankful for the team that helped to save her life.
“They made a great impact on my life, and I’m very grateful to them,” Ortiz says. Members of the community are also helping Ortiz and her family with medical and other expenses through a GoFundMe page.