SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Annalese Contreras said she does not remember meeting school nurse Kathy Papa until Wednesday at the Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento.
That’s when the 14-year-old Live Oak High School freshman gave Papa a big hug just before she received the American Heart Association Heartsaver Hero Award for saving the teen’s life.
On Jan. 13, Annalese fell unconscious at her desk. Papa was called to her classroom and performed CPR after two classmates helped carry Annalese to the floor.
Annalese had no pulse and was not breathing.
“She was as white as a piece of paper,” Papa told FOX40.
Papa said she knew exactly what to do after serving 27 years as a hospital nurse. She used the school’s automated external defibrillator, also known as an AED, to shock Annalese’s heart back into action.
In accepting the award, Papa credited students and staff at Live Oak High School, as well as emergency responders and medical staff at Sutter Medical Center’s Children’s Center, as part of a team effort in saving a life.
Annalese only remembers waking up in the hospital but thanked Papa profusely on Wednesday.
“I was impressed,” she said. “It could have had a different outcome and I wouldn’t be here today.”
Some luck was involved as well. Papa rotates among five campuses in the Live Oak Unified School District and she happened to be at the high school that day.
“For this to turn out the way it did, there’s just no words to put how thankful that we all are,” said Leann Contreras, Annalese’s mother.
The girl’s parents and Papa expressed how important portable defibrillators are and how putting them in schools and other public places can help save lives. They have step by step instructions on them and will indicate whether an electric shock is needed for the patient or not.