MARYLAND

Student collapses at middle school, nurse does not call 911

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GERMANTOWN, Md. (WJLA) - A grandmother is upset with staff at her grandson's school because no one called 911 when the seventh-grader got sick and fell unconscious.

Earlier this month, Tyshawn Akers, 13, was walking from the school cafeteria to his sixth period science class at Kingsview Middle School in Germantown. Upon walking up a flight of stairs, Akers felt a sudden and sharp pain near his heart.

"I just felt shocks going through, and I grabbed my chest, and I just started walking a little bit and I fell," Akers recalled before he reportedly passed out.

A school health technician used a wheelchair to cart the then semi-conscious boy to the nurse's office. There she called Akers' grandmother, Donna Hill-Preston, who jumped into her oversized Ford SUV and raced to the middle school.

"His color was gone, and when I really looked at his color I was like, 'Oh my God,' and I'm kind of grabbing him up off of the thing and looking at her like, 'What in the world, you didn't call anybody, you didn't call 911,'" Hill-Preston said.

Hill-Preston drove Akers to Shady Grove Adventist Emergency Center in Germantown, where doctors immediately took the teenage boy to an examination room. Akers was soon transported by private ambulance to the pediatric unit at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville where he stayed overnight for observation.

"The ER doctor, she said, 'I can't believe the child had collapsed at school and nobody called,'" Preston-Hill added. "She said, 'He should have come through EMS.'"

Privacy laws prevented a school spokesman from explaining why Kingsview staff did not request an ambulance for Akers. Yet he stated student safety has always been, and continues to be MCPS' top priority.

"We have protocols and procedures that we follow whenever one of our students experiences a medical problem in one of our schools and we follow the lead of our the health professionals," spokesman Dana Tofig said in a written statement.

Montgomery County's Department of Health and Human Services oversees medical staffing and protocol at all 202 Montgomery County Public Schools, including Kingsview Middle School. At least one full-time health room technician (certified nursing assistant) is stationed at every building. There are also 100 registered nurses, each assigned between one and three schools, depending on student population.

Together, school nurses and health techs follow a handbook, known as the "Administrative Procedures Manual From School Health Services."

An excerpt from that book reads: "If an injury warrants immediate action, the health or designated MCPS person calls 911 for the rescue squad, then contacts the parent or guardian."

Montgomery County health room log reports show from July 2010 through June 2013, MCPS nurses and health techs called 911 for a student illness or injury 2,201 times ---- or 733 times a year on average. Hill-Preston wants to know why her grandson wasn't given the same treatment.

"These nurses are supposed to be trained to to detect these things, and know when to call for help," Hill-Preston added. "If someone's unconscious, you call 911. It was just very poor handling of the situation."

Akers, who is an avid football and basketball player, has since returned to school with a clean bill of health. He and his grandmother say they'd like an apology from school staff, and assurance swifter response will be taken in the future.

"I like the school, but this is just one incident where I felt like something better should have been done," Akers concluded. "That's how I feel."

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