Frisco elementary teacher credits colleagues with saving her life

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on December 10, 2012 at 11:54 PM

FRISCO -- A Frisco ISD teacher is giving three fellow teachers and an assistant principal credit for saving her life.

Laverne Forwark's heart stopped on August 24, just before "Meet the Teachers Night" at Curtsinger Elementary school.

Forwark, an art teacher, was working on a bulletin board in a school hallway when she collapsed. She suffered sudden cardiac arrest.

"When I came through the doors, I saw Laverne laying on the floor," said Curtsinger Assistant Principal Ashelyn Fain.

The staff went into action. One teacher called 911. Another ran to get the automated external defibrillator, or AED. Fain administered CPR and activated the defibrillator.

"Had we not had that training, had we not had that defibrillator to walk us through those steps, there's no doubt in my mind we would have had a different outcome," Fain said.

Forwark's doctor at Baylor Heart Hospital said only one out of every four people who have sudden cardiac arrest survive.

"We say time is brain," Dr. Brian DeVille said. "Within just a few minutes, irreversible brain damage can occur if the patient is not resuscitated quickly."

The 16-year art teacher had no history of heart problems. She doesn't remember much about the day in August her colleagues saved her life.

"I owe my life to the Curtsinger staff and the Frisco ISD school district for implementing AED's at all the campuses," she said.

Her husband, Randy Forwark, is also thankful.

"Thank God for them," Mr. Forwark said. "She would not be here today, if not for them."

Laverne Forwark is not planning on returning to the classroom until next year. She said she will forever be grateful to her fellow staffers who acted fast and effectively.

"I just thanked them and hugged them, and thanked them for saving my life," Forwark said. "I told them they were angels."

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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