Topsail High student a ‘lifesaver’ after intervening in medical emergency

Topsail High student a ‘lifesaver’ after intervening in medical emergency
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 9:14 PM EST
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HAMPSTEAD, N.C. (WECT) - A Topsail High School student stopped a potentially life-threatening situation from escalating using skills she learned in her high school health class.

Grace Deitz has always wanted to be a nurse practitioner. But when an emergency situation came up while she was on a trip with her church, she said she saw just how important those life-saving skills can be.

The high school senior was on a church trip when the group she was with stopped to take a photo. During the stop, they were bitten by fire ants. Within a few minutes of getting back on the road, one of the adults, who was driving the van, began to experience symptoms of an allergic reaction.

The group switched drivers and rerouted to the nearest hospital. But Deitz said when the church leader’s symptoms began to get worse, and quickly, she knew something had to be done soon.

Someone in the group had an EpiPen on hand, and Deitz was able to coach the person experiencing the reaction by administering it, easing the symptoms until they made it to the hospital. She said while the situation was scary, she was grateful for the skills she learned through Topsail High School’s health sciences program.

“I’ve taken the classes, I’ve received the training, and when I found out we had an EpiPen, I felt ready to go and use it, and of course having God there to help give you peace in those situations,” Deitz said.

When Deitz got back to school on Monday, she went straight to her teacher, Barbara Gleaves, to tell her the story. Gleaves said it brought tears to her eyes.

Gleaves said Deitz isn’t the first student in her nine years as a Topsail High School teacher to have a lifesaving experience like that. She said knowing her students can and do use their skills to help others is what motivates her in her own career.

“That’s why we teach health science. That’s why I became a teacher, so that I can impart that knowledge on other kids and that they can save somebody’s life, and it just so happens that Grace was the right person, at the right time, in the right place.”

With only a semester left before graduation, Deitz said the experience motivated her even more to pursue a career in healthcare.

She encourages other students, who may not know if they’re interested in health sciences, to consider taking a class so that they, too, can have the skill set to help when an emergency arises.

“We have an amazing health science program here and some amazing teachers that train you well and give you that experience and that knowledge of what the healthcare field is like.”