Teenager Saves Her Father’s Life With CPR

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Arabee Jenkins from Loveland believes that he would have died if not for the fast, yet calm, actions of his 15-year-old daughter, who performed chest compressions when he stopped breathing.

“What you did means the world to me,” Arabee said to his daughter, Niyele, who had learned cardiopulmonary resuscitation at Thompson Valley High School earlier this school year.

“There’s no greater gift than what she did for me. I know she’s tired of hearing it, but I’m going to tell her every day for the rest of my life. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here.”

After feeling completely rundown and ill for about a week, Arabee went to urgent care last Friday, Feb. 16, where he was diagnosed with strep throat and sent home with antibiotics, according to Arabee and his wife, Viviana.

A few days after that, he became weak at work, and his boss drove him again to urgent care, where doctors sent him to the emergency room.

After hours of treatment with fluids and medication, Arabee went home with his family.

The next morning, he got up still feeling sick, and his condition quickly worsened. He became dizzy and fell down. After that, Arabee doesn’t remember much, but he does remember moments of shaking, struggling to breathe and his body stiffening like “rigor mortis.”

Luckily for Arabee, there was no school that day and Niyele was at home at the time. She heard her father calling for help, called her grandmother, her mom and 911. The dispatcher talked Niyele through cardiopulmonary resuscitation for the teen’s dad, who several times stopped breathing.

“I was scared but I didn’t show it,” said Niyele, who drew upon a previous one-hour CPR lesson at Thompson Valley High in Loveland.

“My heart just dropped, but I felt like I just had to stay calm. I didn’t freak out.”

Not even when her Dad started violently shaking.

Nor when he stopped breathing.

And not even after medics from Thompson Valley Emergency Medical Services showed up to take over and transport Arabee to Medical Center of the Rockies via ambulance.

Doctors told him he had sepsis, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes as the body’s extreme response to infection, a life-threatening condition.

Without treatment, organ failure and death can be rapid, according to the CDC website.

Luckily, Arabee received the quick treatment from his daughter, paramedics and doctors and nurses at the hospital, where he remained until late Friday.

One of the medics who treated him en route to the hospital stopped by to let him know how lucky he was that his daughter was able to do CPR, said Arabee and Viviana.

The Loveland man is quick to praise his daughter, but also applauds the lesson that she received at school.

“I think this is an important message for all kids to know,” Arabee wrote in an email from the hospital.

The Thompson School District and several local emergency services and medical agencies who make up the Heart Safe Community agree.

Through the Heart Safe Community effort, medics have trained more than 2,000 community members on CPR, including every 10th grader in the Thompson School District last year and almost every one this year, said Mark Turner, captain with the Thompson Valley Emergency Medical Services.

He believes that the biggest impact paramedics can have on the community is through teaching CPR and was beyond happy to learn how Niyele, one of this year’s students, used what she had learned.

That’s a great thing,” Turner said. “That’s pretty cool.”

In addition to the school and community CPR classes, the initiative has placed over 100 automated external defibrillators throughout the community.

The goal is to save lives, which is exactly what Arabee said that Niyele did for him.

“I literally could have died,” said Arabee. “If she wasn’t here and hadn’t done what she did, my body would have shut down … What she did was just absolutely amazing.”

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