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updated: 10/31/2013 10:43 PM

Streamwood school staff save man with CPR, AED

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Some staff members at a Streamwood school are being honored next Thursday for using CPR and an automated external defibrillator to save the life of a delivery man.

James Clearwater of Park City was dropping off food in the Parkland Preparatory Academy cafeteria on Oct. 1 when he started to feel unwell. He told the head of the cafeteria that he was going to the restroom, but as he passed Program Therapist Ray Tad-y's office he began complaining of chest pain.

When Tad-y saw Clearwater he alerted Program Director Amy Bartt, who called 911. Other staff members escorted Clearwater into a room, where they laid him down as his condition quickly became worse.

Then Clearwater's heart stopped beating.

"It was a very scary situation," Tad-y said. "It was something that was just very unexpected, but the team really came together and handled it professionally and immediately."

With the 911 dispatcher on speaker phone, Tad-y, Bartt and six other staff members worked together to perform CPR, use the defibrillator, guide paramedics into the school and later contact Clearwater's family, all while keeping the activity isolated from students.

"It was literally like training," Bartt said, adding that the staff members were more rattled after Clearwater was on his way to an area hospital than when they were working to keep him alive.

Clearwater doesn't remember anything that happened, but he was released from the hospital a few days later and has made a steady recovery since then.

"They did a great job," he said of the Parkland staff. "They knew what to do and how to do it and they did it without getting into each other's way,"

The staff will be recognized during the Streamwood village board meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7.

Clearwater -- who returned to work this week and finally had a chance to meet everyone at the school who helped him -- said the recognition is well-deserved.

"I'm so thankful to all of those people," he said. "It could be a whole lot worse for me right now."

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