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New York school's reported failure results in brain injury

A heart attack perhaps could not have been avoided, but the far more extensive medical trauma suffered by a New York assistant principal might have been. The Queens man could have been helped in the first critical minutes following his heart attack. Unfortunately, school administrators violated state law when they neglected to dispatch properly trained staff who could have come to his aid, possibly preventing the resulting brain injury.

When the 45-year-old man collapsed on Oct. 14 at JHS 226 Virgil I. Grissom, a teacher did call 911 on her cell phone. However, no one at the school called a "Code Blue" on the loudspeaker. Doing so would have alerted all staff members on site who were trained in CPR and in the use of defibrillators, and one or more could have come to his assistance. Failing to do so is not only against Department of Education safety protocol, but also violated New York state law.

In the first minutes after a heart attack, a quick response can be vital to preventing brain injury. When deprived of oxygen, brain cells begin to die within three to five minutes. A teacher in a neighboring classroom is certified in CPR and could have provided crucial aid during that time frame. However, due to the school's failure to follow mandated safety procedures, the teacher remained unaware of the unconscious man and was unable to provide assistance, which could have proved life-altering.

After days of being in a coma following his heart attack, the assistant principal remains at Jamaica Hospital. Thankfully, he has regained consciousness and has slowly started to speak again. Apparently, the Department of Education has not contacted the man to ask about his condition. A representative has merely stated that the incident is still under investigation.

Unfortunately, the full extent of the damage he suffered may not be known for some time. When there is brain injury, victims face months and even years of medical care and therapy. Victims may need permanent ongoing health care. If fault is found, New York victims and their families who have suffered brain injury may choose to seek financial compensation due to the exorbitant medical costs that inevitably arise. An attorney with experience in brain injury cases may be able to assist the family in procuring compensation following such an incident.

Source: New York Post, "School reportedly didn't handle staffer's heart attack properly", Susan Edelman View, Oct. 30, 2016

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