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American Heart Association Honors CISD Nurse

The American Heart Association (AHA) and Conroe Independent School District are pleased to announce Rachelle L. Thinnes, nurse at Travis Intermediate School received the AHA’s Heart Saver Hero Award on Monday, March 7 at 4:30 p.m. in the school’s library.

On February 24, Thinnes jumped into action after a guest at the school went into cardiac arrest. Thinnes was able to save the guest’s life by using immediate bystander Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to “shock” the victim’s heart and save his life.

Conroe ISD school nurses organize and train AED teams on their campuses to respond to cardiac emergencies.  Conroe ISD Coordinator of Health Services Barbara Robertson said, “These AED’s are checked monthly to ensure they are in proper working order. In the school setting there is no ‘Code Blue’ button to summon other nurses or physicians to help. It is the school nurse, the team she trained, and an AED. Travis Intermediate’s AED team, led by Rachelle Thinnes, was ready.  We are pleased to say the person survived because of this total team effort.”

“We are so fortunate to have such amazing individuals who work at Travis Intermediate.  Nurse Thinnes’ actions not only demonstrate her dedication to her career, but also exemplify the excellence we strive for across the District,” stated Dr. Tamika Taylor, Travis Intermediate principal.

The AHA’s Heart Hero Saver Award is an award given to those in our community who have saved a life utilizing bystander CPR or an AED machine. By saving a life using those vital skills, the Heart Hero Saver Award recipient is doing more within their community by also partnering with the AHA to improve the survival rate of citizens who receive bystander CPR.

“Bystander CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival,” said Joelle Ballariel, the Community CPR Manager for the American Heart Association. “Arming teachers with the knowledge and confidence to perform Hands-Only CPR and use an AED machine is a vital skill that could save a life of a student, fellow staff member or loved one.”

More than 326,000 people experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year. About 90 percent of those victims die, often because bystanders don’t know how to start CPR or are afraid they’ll do something wrong.

Immediate CPR and early defibrillation, with an AED, can more than double a victim’s chance of survival. In fact, early defibrillation, along with CPR, is the only way to restore the victim’s heart rhythm to normal in a lot of cases of cardiac arrest. For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, the chances of survival decrease by 7 to 10 percent.