School nurse, AED save man’s life

By Derik Vanderford dvanderford@civitasmedia.com

March 25, 2014

UNION — The life of a local school employee was saved Monday morning, thanks to treatment by a school nurse.

Sammy Moorman — an employee of both Foster Park Elementary and Sims Middle School — went to work as usual Monday morning in the FPES cafeteria, singing and smiling at each person he passed. His co-workers said he continued to sing as he went out a side door and broke down cardboard boxes. After a few minutes, co-workers realized they hadn’t heard Moorman singing anymore, and they went out to check on him, discovering that he had collapsed into the pile of cardboard. At that point, school nurse Kelly Walton came to the rescue.

“Our custodian lifted him up, and he had no pulse and wasn’t breathing,” Walton said.

The school’s emergency plan was then put into place. The plan includes staff reporting to the parking lot to direct EMS, and other staff keeping the path clear of students. Walton and other school staff are certified in CPR, and she began to perform CPR on Moorman, who — as was later determined — had suffered a heart attack.

Walton also used the school’s AED (automated external defibrillator) to perform electrical therapy to stop the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.

Walton — who has been a nurse for 26 years and a school employee for nine years — said she is thankful for grants that Randy Crocker and the Union County School District were able to obtain several years ago to supply an AED at each school in the district and the district office, as well as a full-time nurse at each school.

“In my opinion, had we not had an AED, Sammy wouldn’t be here with us today,” Walton said. “CPR is great, but it will usually not get them out of a fatal heart rhythm. The good Lord did everything through us.”

Walton said she is also thankful for Wallace Thomson Hospital, where Moorman was taken to board a helicopter which flew him to Spartanburg for treatment. Moorman’s treatment included a stent being put in his artery.

Walton said the scare made for a very emotional day at Foster Park Elementary.

“After it was over, we all got together and prayed and cried,” she said. “The way he left, we didn’t know if we would see Sammy again. I’m thankful we will get to see him again here on earth.”

On Tuesday morning, Moorman said he could not express enough thanks to Walton and the staff at Foster Park Elementary. He said he remembered very little, except for a chilly helicopter ride. Moorman also said his chest was sore and his appetite was small, but he smiled as he expressed thanks for those who have checked on his well-being.