Petaluma teen saves a life with CPR

Thirteen-year-old Lucy Decker was at a rowing event in Oakland last month when a spectator suddenly collapsed, apparently having a heart attack. A concerned crowd of onlookers gathered around, while one man stepped forward and started performing CPR.

The problem, though, was the bystander was doing it all wrong. He was performing the CPR compressions into the ailing man’s shoulder blade, clearly not doing any good.

That’s when Decker, an 8th grader at Petaluma Junior High School, stepped forward and corrected the man. Relying on the training she had learned in P.E. class, she demonstrated the proper technique of chest compressions, helping to sustain the man until paramedics arrived.

“I just thought that this man has more time to live,” Decker said. “He looked young. I didn’t think it was his time.”

Decker learned CPR at school as part of a countywide initiative to train juniors high students to become potential life savers and help schools be prepared for a cardiac emergency. Saves Lives Sonoma works in partnership with HeartSafe Community, an initiative of the Petaluma Health Care District, which brings together various first responder agencies and nonprofits, including the Petaluma Fire Department, the American Heart Association, and EMS.

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