School nurse who saved teenager’s life is awarded top UK honour

Joshua Efford. SUS-150107-091459001
Joshua Efford. SUS-150107-091459001

A woman who saved the life of an Uckfield Community Technology College student has been awarded one of the UK’s top life-saving honours.

Noreen Daniels, the College’s first-aider, rushed to help Joshua Efford after he collapsed and stopped breathing during a GCSE exam on June 3. She performed CPR for around 20 to 25 minutes, succeeding in bringing him back from the brink of death.

Now, the 44-year-old of Buckhust Way, East Grinstead, has been awarded a Royal Humane Society resuscitation certificate.

As well as the accolade, Ms Daniels won the personal praise of Royal Humane Society secretary Dick Wilkinson as he announced the award at the Society’s London HQ.

He said: “Put simply, she was the right person in the right place at the right time and thankfully was able to save this boy’s life. She richly deserves the award.

“Her advanced knowledge of resuscitation techniques made the difference between life and death for this boy. Doctors have said that were it not for her actions the outcome could likely have been very different.

“The Efford family have commented publicly and openly that they will remain forever indebted to Mrs Daniels for saving their son’s life.”

The incident happened on the morning of June 3 this year. Students were finishing a GCSE exam in the assembly hall when the 16-year-old fell from his chair on to the floor. He had previously been fit and healthy and there was no previous medical history to give any warning of what happened.

His lips began to go blue and it was clear that his heart had stopped and he was not breathing. Ms Daniels was called and immediately began to administer cardiac pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). An ambulance and air ambulance were called.

She continued CPR and ultimately Joshua began breathing on his own again and was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, where he spent nine days in intensive care, during which he was placed in an induced coma. He was also fitted with an internal defibrillator.

No date has yet been fixed for presentation of the award, which follows a recommendation from Sussex Police, but it is expected to take place in the near future.

The roots of the Royal Humane Society stretch back more than two centuries. Its president is Princess Alexandra and it is the premier national body for honouring bravery in the saving of human life. It was founded in 1774 by two of the day’s eminent medical men, William Hawes and Thomas Cogan.

To read the full interview with the Efford family, click here.

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