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Two angels at Manteca High save life of teen
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Amanda Buhay could have died in mid-December in a Manteca High classroom.

She’s alive today because of two angels — Troy Fast and Jerry Fasler.

They are Manteca High staffers whose quick response saved her life.

The freshman — unaware she has a congenital heart problem — suffered a heart attack during her Spanish class.

She survived, thanks to the duo, who kept her alive while using CPR until ambulance crews arrived to stabilize her before being rushed to a Bay Area hospital by helicopter. 

Waiting until the story turned from a negative to a happier event with a positive ending is why I am writing about it in this column nearly four months later and after the men had been honored for their actions.

The two found Amanda unresponsive when they arrived at the classroom.  Fast is assistant principal and Walser is a campus monitor.  The two teamed up to begin the deep chest  compressions.  A Manteca Ambulance crew arrived minutes later with ambulance general manager/paramedic Jonathon Mendoza and his paramedic partner.  

She was basically gone, with no breathing and no pulse, Mendoza said of the time Fast and Walser were furiously working to save her life.  Fast had started the compressions as Wasler monitored the minimal sporadic breathing and the presence of a pulse, then no pulse, and again a pulse, no pulse. Those two men literally ran into each other as they rushed into the classroom responding to an urgent call for help.  They immediately recognized what they needed to do and they did it. They said they felt they had been directed by a higher power.

The girl’s frantic mother had run to the school from home after receiving a call from her husband who was on day-shift duty with the San Jose Police Department — having been called at work by someone in Manteca.  No one had known of the heart problem she had carried from birth.  Medics said the surfacing of an inherited heart abnormality’s symptom is usually it’s first and last.

Amanda’s mom believes what the two MHS staffers did resulted in a true miracle.  She said the doctors told her and her husband that whoever gave the initial CPR are the real heroes.  She had run into the classroom to see the two men doing CPR on her daughter.

As Amanda continues through her years at Manteca High School she can bet there will be at least two godfathers in the wings paying close attention to the girl they saved in the classroom and will always be on a first name basis with her.

Staff and students have been trained in CPR as part of an ongoing Manteca Unified effort.

Overseeing the effort is Caroline Thibodeau who has also teamed up with Manteca District Ambulance Service, the Manteca Fire Department and the Manteca-Lathrop Fire Department along with Stockton Fire Department training students in deep compression Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).  By the end of June this year more than 3,500 students will have been trained.

Mendoza noted that the norm for such a heart attack is a fatal outcome in most cases — Amanda was the lucky one, because she had two angels sent to her just in time to save her life.