Student honored for saving teacher's life following stroke

A fourth-grader at Altoona Charter Elementary School in Lake County was honored Wednesday for saving her teacher’s life when he had a stroke during class.

"It was kind of odd because I didn’t know what was going on because I’ve never seen someone have a stroke before," student Harper Doty said, recalling the Aug. 27 school day.

She said she was doing math and got up to ask Mr. Lavoy for help but he needed help of his own when he felt weak and fell to the floor

"We were up there in like seconds after we heard that big bam and his head was this close to hitting his desk."

Doty said she and her classmates helped him up but he fell again. She grabbed the school radio and pressed the button so Mr. Lavoy could call for help

"[I didn’t know what to do] but I’ve seen people on TV have that kind of stuff but I’ve never been in the action."

Principal Walter Schmidt answered the radio call. 

"It didn’t sound right. It sounded like something was very much wrong so I ran over to the classroom."

Within minutes Lake County Rescue arrived on the scene.  Mr. Lavoy was transported by helicopter to Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC).

He fully recovered with no deficits and was back at work in a week.

"The story that you hear is really the story we wish we could tell for every stroke patient," said ORMC Air CARE Team Chief Paramedic Michael Talento. 

He said teamwork and calling 911 early saved the teacher’s life.

Talento honored Doty with a challenge coin for rising to the challenge during an emergency situation.

"The faster we recognize a stroke, the faster we can get the patients to treatment and the fastest we can treat the patients," said Orlando Health Vascular Neurologist Arnaldo Velez.

Principal Schmidt said he is proud of his students. 

"It’s not often that you see people, even adults, react without panic in a situation like that, and the fact that not only that it was Harper, but the other kids in the class were able to do that, it was very inspiring."

Doty said she is happy to have Mr. Lavoy back in class. 

"It feels good just seeing his smile and him not being in pain anymore."

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