Clinton school nurse saves man with quick response

Eagle Heights Elementary School in Clinton is full of life.

“There is no typical day,” said school nurse Emily Randolph.

Inside the nurse’s office, Randolph makes dozens of decisions.

“You can start out with the best laid plans to get something done,” she continued.

But when a parent reported that custodian Pat Schwartz collapsed Wednesday while snow blowing, Emily stepped into action.

“From right here, you can’t see where he was,” she pointed outside the front door.

Racing to the side of the school, she saved a life. She started with CPR, which she also teaches.

“Your adrenaline’s going,” she recalled. “I didn’t get tired at all.”

And turning to the school’s defibrillator, she and another nurse worked together until paramedics arrived.

“I just focused right in on him laying on the ground and instincts took over,” she said.

For custodian Pat Schwartz, everybody was in the right place at the right time. Emily’s instinctive response definitely kept a bad situation from getting worse.

“When the fire department came, they were very impressed with how she was handling the situation,” said Eagle Heights Principal Roger Winterlin. “They called back later to say she really did a wonderful job.”

Schwartz, a father of three, remains hospitalized in Clinton.

As kids parade in and out of the nurse’s office on Thursday, it’s a time to reflect on CPR skills. These are skills that everybody can learn.

“I don’t feel like a hero,” she concluded. “It’s just part of the job. If you have to do it, you have to do it. Then come back in and finish the day.”

A day that was meant for saving a life.

This caring response seems to run in the family. Emily’s mom, Barbara Randolph, was recently named Iowa School Nurse of the Year. And her aunt is the nurse at Lyons Middle School in Clinton.

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