Philadelphia school nurse honored for saving student's life

Lisa Weidman, a nurse at Philadelphia Charter School for Arts and Sciences, is honored for saving a student's life.
Photo credit Justin Udo/KYW Newsradio
By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Lisa Weidman, a nurse at Philadelphia Charter School for Arts and Sciences, jumped into action last April when she got a call that a student taking the PSSA exam was unresponsive.

"I found her to be pulse-less. From there on, I just performed CPR," Weidman said.

Weidman has worked at hospitals in their neonatal intensive care units, so being in life or death medical situations is nothing new for her.

But resuscitating a student with no pulse put her a bit out of her usual element.

"This is a totally different experience, because you don't have the resources or other materials that are needed during a crisis situation like this," she said.

Weidman was able to clear students from the room, get help from her fellow staff, use a defibrillator, and get the 6th grader to an ambulance. Then she had to wait.

"I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what was happening with her," she said.

The next day, Weidman found out the girl would be okay.

"I was numb until we got information that the student had survived, because she was in a very critical state when she left here," she said.

The city of Philadelphia honored Weidman for her work during a ceremony on Monday at the school. 

"I didn't need this recognition," she said. "It was self serving to me to help a student. I'm just appreciative of the whole community for honoring me."

She used the opportunity to advocate for health education.

"What I would like to see is more health classes, and actually teaching students how to perform CPR. I think that would be very helpful for them to know. It's a life skill," she said.

Councilmember Maria Quiñones-Sanchez attended the celebration. She says she wants the school district to have nurses in all of their school buildings, at all times, an issue the district has dealt with in the past.

"We need to start talking about what is adequate staffing levels, support-staff levels, at the schools," she said.

According to the School District of Philadelphia website, currently about 250 nurses serve more than 200,000 students at traditional and charter schools.