Minnesota Teen Uses the Skills She Learned in Eighth-grade CPR Class to Save Her Sister’s Life

A Law That Will Save Countless Lives

When you are younger or older, knowing CPR is an important and essential skill that one can never overlook. Two sisters, from Chaska, Minnesota know, all too well, the veracity of this statement. Fortunately, Minnesota lawmakers have instituted a statute that mandates the instruction of CPR in Minnesota schools. Young Sarah Matteson agrees that the new law will be instrumental in savings lives.


Eighth-grade CPR Training Helped Save a Young Girl’s Life

Sarah understands the importance of the new law as the 15-year-old girl saved her own sister from a near-drowning, using the skills she had acquired in her eighth-grade CPR class. The teen girl revived her sister’s lifeless body after she scooped up the 8-year-old from the bottom of a swimming pool.


A Day of Fun is Suddenly Disrupted

 Matteson recalled the day of the accident. A day of fun and leisure was suddenly disrupted when Sarah’s brother suddenly jumped out of the water and yelled to his sister that Leah, her sister, was drowning. The kids were playing and relaxing in a pool at a South Dakota hotel.


It All Happened So Fast – “It Was Very Scary!”

Sarah recounted that the incident happened so fast – she didn’t have time to think – she just responded, using the CPR skills she had received from CPR training. Sarah admitted that the whole incident “. . . was very scary!” She said that she thought her sister was dead because she was both purple and cold.


She Immediately Began Compressions

Sarah said she immediately began compressions, using the basic techniques that she had learned in school – holding the nose, then tilting the head and breathing. Thankfully, Leah survived the emergency as the result of Sarah’s efforts and the oxygen therapy she received at a nearby hospital. Leah said that she did not remember anything of the ordeal and never felt anything. She added, “It’s crazy that [that] much happened.”


Freak Accidents Can Happen

Sarah Matteson acknowledges freak accidents can happen. She said, “I think everyone should know what they are doing.”


Good News

Lawmakers agree with Sarah as well as the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association. As part of the new CPR mandate, Minnesota high school students will start taking basic CPR classes as part of their coursework in the autumn of 2014. Dave Teske, who works as an instructor for the American Red Cross, said that he and his organization were very excited to hear the news.


A Key Component in Saving Lives

Teske said that he believed that teaching as many people as you can about emergency CPR is a key component in saving lives. Therefore, he is excited about the chance to use his knowledge to provide CPR instruction for saving the lives of infants, children and adults.


The Proper Method

He stated that proper chest compression entailed using the heel of the hand on the center of the breast bone or sternum, then pressing down at least two inches for adults and children, and 1 ½ inches for infants. Knowing these distinctions enables the student to act with confidence during an emergency.


CPR – Used Since the 18th Century

CPR itself has been around or used since 1740. At that time, the Paris Academy of Sciences endorsed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for victims of drownings. Over 150 years later, in 1891, Dr. Friedrich Maass conducted the first documented chest compression.


Chest Compression Advancements

In 1903, Dr. George Crile recorded the first successful utilization of chest compressions for the purpose of resuscitation. He also performed the first closed-chest cardiac massage in the U.S. in 1904.


Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation Techniques

The above efforts and discoveries led to the development of current mouth-to-mouth resuscitation techniques in 1956, and military adoption of these techniques in 1957.


Customized Training

Today, customized training is available for individuals working in the dental and medical fields, in manufacturing, daycare, business, and schools. Fitness trainers, life guards, boy scouts, girl scouts, parents and grandparents, can all receive heartsaver CPR and heartsaver first aid instruction in their spare time. Classes show adults and children how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) as well as how to clear an airway obstruction.


calendarMany local classes now available across the state of MN. 

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Again, Know All You Can Know

Know all you can know about heart rate, CPR, and obstructions to the airway, and, like Sarah, you can avert a tragedy.




Donna Ryan
Donna Ryan is a writer and editor with extensive writing and editing experience. She has covered subjects, such as health and fitness, home and gardening, technology, travel, business, and general news content. She is also an award-winning poet. You can send her a message by visiting donnaryanwriting@wordpress.com.