School nurse honored with American Red Cross award after saving teacher’s life

Mill Creek High School Nurse Candy Fleming talks about how her routine as a school nurse has changed since COVID-19. Video by Alyssa Pointer

Florida school nurse Bethany Simmons-Little was honored by the American Red Cross on May 5 after the health care hero took life-saving action to aid a teacher suffering a heart attack, WSVN reported. The school nurse kept the teacher alive, by performing CPR, until paramedics could rush her to the hospital.

“I was just trusting my training,” Simmons-Little told WSVN. Simmons-Little’s colleagues, however, had much more to say about their live-saving school nurse.

“Truly an angel and a hero that moves among us on a daily basis,” Walter Hall, principal at Leisure City K-8 Center, said.

“I witnessed it first hand and what you did was nothing short of a miracle,” a teacher told WSVN.

Two years ago, Lisa Thelwell suffered a heart attack while teaching class at the school. That’s when Simmons-Little sprang into action.

“I don’t know where you came from or how you got there, but when I looked up, after I said my last prayer, you were there,” Hall said.

Officers and paramedics on the scene reportedly told the school nurse to stop administering CPR to Thelwell and that it was too late to save the teacher’s life. Simmons-Little persevered and continued to administer chest compressions.

“He had told Bethany to stop what she was doing, and you looked at him, and I thought, [Oh my God], she’s going to fight the police,” Hall said. “But she, you kept your composure.”

The American Red Cross issued Simmons-Little the National Life-Saving Award for her heroic effort.

“The American Red Cross gives out a National Life-Saving award when someone uses their skill set to save or sustain another life, and in this case, Ms. Little used her nursing training and literally did not stop,” Debbie Koch, executive director for the American Red Cross for Miami and the Keys, told WSVN. “Followed every instinct of her training and was able to save this woman’s life.”