CPR knowledge helps teen rescue father
by Jennifer Cohron
Apr 17, 2011 | 4024 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hayley, Kerri and Donnie Jones participated in a Red Cross CPR class last week. Hayley saved her father’s life last June when she performed CPR on him after he became unconscious while driving. Photo by: Jennifer Cohron
Hayley, Kerri and Donnie Jones participated in a Red Cross CPR class last week. Hayley saved her father’s life last June when she performed CPR on him after he became unconscious while driving. Photo by: Jennifer Cohron
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Hayley Jones learned CPR in an advanced health class during her senior year at Walker High School.

The curriculum was a requirement for students who were interested in shadowing doctors at the local hospital.

Although Hayley never enrolled in the shadowing program, her father is alive today because she received CPR training.

“I’m thankful that the school offered that training to her, and I’m thankful that she paid attention,” Donnie Jones said.

Jones was driving his daughter and his wife, Kerri, to Tuscaloosa on June 29 when he became unconscious.

Kerri Jones remembers that one moment the family was laughing together and the next they were veering into oncoming traffic.

She looked over to find that her husband’s head was leaning against the head rest. His eyes were open but cloudy.

Kerri Jones managed to get the truck off the road. It came to a stop after hitting a tree near the Highway 69 Superstop.

She flagged down a passing truck while Hayley called 911 and checked her father for a pulse. She could not find one.

Kerri Jones looked around at the group that had stopped to help and asked if anyone knew CPR.

“I didn’t even say yes. I just started,” Hayley said.

For approximately four minutes, Hayley used the CPR techniques that she had learned just two months prior to keep blood pumping to her father’s heart and brain.

Officials with the American Red Cross and other experts say that permanent brain damage begins four to six minutes after cardiac arrest.

Kerri Jones said that although the strong man in their life could not be with them that day, she knows that she and her 18-year-old daughter were not alone.

“We thank God that we did everything right because it was only by the grace of God that we did it,” Jones said.

Donnie Jones was diagnosed as having a ruptured mitral valve at Walker Baptist Medical Center. He had been under a doctor’s care for some time for mitral valve prolapse and had recently been told that surgery would be necessary within the next five years.

Jones woke up at Princeton Hospital one week after the incident.

“The last thing I remember is taking Kerri and Hayley back to Kerri’s office at 1 p.m. that day. When I woke up the following Tuesday, I had already had open-heart surgery,” he said.

Jones has now made a full recovery.

Later, Jones thanked a physician friend for coming to the WBMC emergency and helping save his life.

“He said, ‘Hayley Jones saved your life and she saved your brain by giving you CPR,’” Jones said.

Like his youngest daughter, Jones has had to perform CPR to save a family member.

“It was a drowning victim who just happened to be my oldest daughter when she was about 3 years old,” Jones said.

The Jones family now works together to educate the public about the importance of CPR training.

Hayley, who won the title of Miss Walker County four months before her father’s incident, has now changed her platform from community service to the American Red Cross with an emphasis on CPR training.

On Thursday, the family organized and participated in a hands-only CPR class at the CHS building that also served as a fundraiser for the Walker County Red Cross Heroes Campaign. Approximately $1,500 was generated for the local Red Cross service center.

Hayley said she knows firsthand how crucial proper training can be in an emergency.

“It can happen anytime, anyplace, anywhere to anybody. If it does happen, somebody has to be there to act,” she said.