Although most days are boring as a school nurse at West Bemis Middle School, Carrie Stephenson always readies herself for the unexpected. Although most days are busied with giving children band-aids for scraped knees and screening the fakers who just want to get out of class, on Friday Stephenson’s skills as a nurse were put to the test.
Because she listened to her instinct, she has saved a young man’s life.
It all started when 13-year-old Isaiah Griffin had started vomiting in the hallway. Teachers called Stephenson to come check on him. And because a stomach virus was going around the school and numerous other students had gotten it, she assumed Isaiah had the same problem.
But when she arrived on the scene, Stephenson’s professional instincts told her something wasn’t right. And then she did something that saved the Isaiah’s life…
Stephenson realized that the teen’s vomit looked abnormal. Then he started swaying and his eyes rolled back inside his head.
“I honestly thought he was fixin’ to die,” Stephenson admitted to ABC10 on Monday.
The teachers and other bystanders thought Isaiah would be fine. One person even asked if he could just be sent home to his mom so he could rest it off.
Stephenson insisted that Isaiah be rushed to the hospital. There was no time to waste; his life was at stake!
Throughout the encounter, Stephenson remained calm and treated Isaiah with respect.
“I treated Isaiah like he was my own child,” she said.
Th ambulance arrived and rushed Isaiah to Jackson General. Then he was flown to Le Bonheur as his mother drove to meet him there. He was paralyzed on his left side and he was saved in the nick of time.
“I was driving, crying and praying,” Isaiah’s mother, Deborah Griffin, said. “It was the longest drive. I thought I would never get there.”
Isaiah was rushed to the hospital and went into the ER immediately because his condition was dire. Isaiah was having a stroke from a blood clot that had got lodged just an inch away from his brain stem.
Because Stephenson knew how to recognize a serious problem, Isaiah got the emergency treatment he needed and he should be fine. While his life has been saved, he still might need some occupational and physical therapy to readjust back to normal life after the clot is removed.
“This is going to be one of the best Christmases. Ms. Carrie has given me a gift,” Griffin said Monday. “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,” she continued. “We could’ve been planning a funeral, not planning a celebration.”
Stephenson has been a fixture at the West Bemis Middle School for three years, but admits that this is the most serious situation she has ever encounter in her career.
“To me it was just the grace of God showing through. God was all over that,” she said.
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