Lathrop High student uses CPR; saves boy’s life

Lathrop High School junior Valerie Villanueva is being recognized for putting her life-saving skills to good use after she performed CPR on a child who had fallen into a pool.

Over the weekend on Sept. 16, an 11-year-old boy and his 9-year-old brother slipped and fell into a pool. They were submerged for 15-20 seconds before an adult pulled them out. The younger boy started to cough, however, his older brother was not responsive, Manteca Unified officials said. His lips were turning blue and his skin became an ashy color.

Villanueva, who has been taking CPR training in a Health Careers class, sprung into action.

“Get out of the way, I know CPR,” she said according to district officials.

Villanueva performed the first set of 30 compressions, but the boy was still unresponsive. She performed a second set of 30 compressions, that kept the boy’s blood flowing to his brain and gave his lungs a chance to recover.

On the third set of compressions, the boy began coughing up water and regained consciousness.

“I never thought that I would have to perform it,” Villanueva said in a statement. “I was so nervous that I was shaking, but I’m glad that I was able to help him.”

Lathrop High Health Careers teacher James Ward told district officials, “She just finished her CPR certification at the beginning of September. We are so proud that she saved a life. On Monday, we gave her a standing ovation in class.”

The experience has only increased Villanueva’s desire to go into the medical field as a career and to help children.

“The satisfaction of seeing that I was able to help him, to see that he was OK, is what I want to see for the rest of my life,” she said.

Photo courtesy of the Manteca Unified School District.

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