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Without A School Nurse's Quick Thinking, This Boy Might Not Be Alive

Kids tend to belly-ache a lot when they don't want to be in school. Sometimes they exaggerate their illnesses to gain sympathy, attention, and perhaps a pass to go home early. A school nurse has a tough job: differentiating between the belly-achers, and the occasional child who is actually having a medical emergency. One school nurse in Tennessee passed that test, and saved a young boy's life.

Isaiah Griffin went to see Nurse Carrie Stephenson because he wasn't feeling well. The 13-year-old West Bemis Middle School student stood in the hallway and Stephenson went out to see him. Immediately, she realized that the young boy didn't look right.

The teacher thought Griffin had a stomach virus, and that's what Stephenson assumed, until she saw him face to face. Griffin had vomited, and it didn't look like normal vomit. He was swaying back and forth, and his eyes were rolling back in his head. He seemed to be drifting in and out of consciousness.

“I honestly thought he was fixin’ to die,” said the nurse.

Isaiah's mother was called to the school and about to take him home, but the nurse interceded and told her to call EMS right then and there. She was insistent that something more serious than a stomach flu was going on. Stephenson insisted, and Griffin was rushed to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis.

It was a good call. As it turns out, Griffin had a blood clot about an inch from his brain. He was suffering a stroke when Stephenson found him. Thanks to the nurse's quick action, the doctors were able to catch the blood clot in time.

After the clot was removed, Isaiah was walking a little funny. His family was told he would need occupational therapy and physical therapy. But he's alert and in good spirits, and his outlook is good.

Isaiah's mother will be forever grateful to Stephenson. “This is going to be one of the best Christmases. Ms. Carrie has given me a gift,” Deborah Griffin said. “It’s just the most precious gift she could have given me. Her thinking and everything she did for him saved his life, I tell you what... We could’ve been planning a funeral, not planning a celebration.”

The celebration they're planning is Isaiah's 14th birthday; thanks to Stephenson, the young man will get to see that milestone. When he was first brought to the hospital, doctors said he only had a 50/50 chance of survival. If he had gone home, that chance would have plummeted.

Stephenson, whose mother is also a nurse, says she only did what she knew was right. “I treated Isaiah like he was my own child,” she said.

When Stephenson visited Isaiah in the hospital, he remembered her immediately." You’re the lady that helped me,” he said. “You grabbed my cheeks and told me I was going to be OK.”

The family lavished hugs and thanks on the nurse, who hopes that this incident will sound the message that every school needs to have a qualified nurse. “Hopefully, this will bring awareness as to why they need a nurse in every building,” Stephenson said.

Source: ABC 10
Photo: ABC10

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