Michigan teacher hears grandma’s slurred words during virtual lesson, saves her life

by Peter Heck · Oct 19th, 2020 9:48 am
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Last Updated Oct 20th, 2020 at 2:30 pm

While teaching her first-grade class remotely, a Michigan elementary school teacher ended up saving the life of one of her students' grandparents. Teacher Julia Koch received a phone call from Cynthia Phillips, who said she was having a difficult time charging her grandchild's electronic tablet.

In the course of the conversation, Koch said she could tell something was wrong.

"It was clear there was something very wrong," Koch said later. "Her words were so jumbled, and I couldn't understand what she was trying to say…She didn't sound like herself."

After hanging up, Koch called the school principal, Charlie Lovelady, who immediately recognized the signs of a stroke.

"I noticed her speech was impaired, and I asked her if she was alright, and she was stumbling over her words and it was getting worse by the minute. I knew the symptoms of a stroke," Lovelady said, "because I lost my father from a stroke so I told her hold on and immediately got her help."

Lovelady directed another staff member to call 911 and also dispatched two other employees to drive to her house to watch over the children.

From her hospital bed, Phillips has nothing but gratitude for the school personnel who helped her.

"I would have died if it weren't for the teacher being so quick and fast about getting me help," Phillips said. "It made me so close to the staff and the principal, even the secretary who hurried to get me on the phone with the principal. They showed up at my house to make sure I'm okay. I thank God I didn't die in front of my kids."

Phillips is recovering at the hospital.


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