Brazos Middle School staff saved man's life during heart attack, thanks to AED

WALLIS, Texas (KTRK) -- A group of educators are being hailed as heroes after all coming together to revive a man who suffered a heart attack in their school gym.

The incident happened on Feb. 1 at Brazos Middle School near Wallis.

Neil Carew, a beloved and longtime photographer, suffered a heart attack in the gym.

"When I turned around, he went down at that moment," said coach and teacher Cathy Egger. "I went and shook him and called out his name a little bit and I said, 'This isn't working.'"

Egger said she went to get help. She yelled out for her colleague Denisse Minks who was close by.

"I didn't wait. I grabbed his shirt and popped the buttons off and started compressions. Kathy started counting," said Minks.

By then, principal Clay Hudgins ran into the gym after calling 911. Hudgins said after he walked into the gym, he remembered the automated external defibrillator that was outside the gym and immediately grabbed it.

"I knew that we need the AED. I went and grabbed it, came in and I kneeled down beside the ladies. By that point, our nurse came in," said Hudgins.

Longtime nurse Katrina Kohleffel took the lead, opening the AED and placing the patches from the device onto Carew's chest.

"We put pads on, we waited for the prompt, we listened and followed what the AED said to do. Shocked him twice," said Kohleffel.

Carew woke up, and tried to get back on his feet, but they wouldn't let him. Carew was transported by Life Flight to Memorial Hermann. Doctors were amazed by his recovery.

"I don't think he would've made it, possibly not even to the hospital. He certainly would not have left the hospital functioning as he is," said Carew's doctor Nils Johnson with Memorial Hermann. "When the heart stops, all of the organs in the body suffer. They don't get the blood flow that they need. On average, less than 10 percent of people like him make it to leave the hospital with a meaningful mental status, that is, a meaningful mental recovery after this."

Principal Hudgins said Carew's recovery is a miracle and said the AED pads were replaced just a month prior.
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