LSU students save Boyd professor




BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) –

LSU Boyd professor James Oxley owes his life to a group of LSU students.

On Friday, July 5, Oxley was swimming laps at the UREC when he went into sudden cardiac arrest .

“I was less than halfway through my regular swim when I stopped swimming. I don’t really know why I stopped,” Oxley said. “Evidently I slipped under the water and came back up and then fell across the lane ropes. John Foster, another swimmer, as well as one other person who we don’t know yet, dragged me out.”

LSU student and lifeguard Isabella Alvarez joined other students and jumped into action.

“I noticed he had gotten out of the water and instead of continuing to swim he looked at Mr. Foster, the man on his right, and he fell into his arms. At this point, I had already gotten out of the chair because I noticed some sporadic behavior. I went over, saw my co-worker Katie Estes, who did the primary assessment. I called for a code red (over the radio) and I made sure to tell them that I needed EMS and an AED,” Alvarez said.

Katie Estes was the first to get to Professor Oxley followed by a UREC aquatics supervisor named Evan Young.

“As soon as I saw him on the ground, I knew this was really serious. This is the most serious emergency I’ve ever dealt with at the UREC,” said Young. “I was giving just the compressions. Katie was giving breaths and Isabella was working the AED, or Automated External Defibrillator. It was three of us all working together. We’ve been trained, and we practice all of this together monthly.”

Through their teamwork, Oxley was revived and sent to a local hospital.

“The immediate recognition and response of the team was phenomenal.  Their actions allowed the emergency response system to work perfectly by initiating immediate CPR, defibrillation and notifying 911 as soon as possible. Without their initial response and treatment, the outcome could have easily been much worse. We always hope these actions will prompt others to learn CPR and be prepared to assist the public when needed,” said Mike Chustz, public information officer with Baton Rouge EMS. 

In total, eight students helped save Oxley’s life and they are listed below:

  • Katie Estes of Memphis, Tenn.: lifeguard at the greeter position. Provided initial assessment and first round of rescue breathing.
  • Isabella Alvarez of New Orleans, La.: lifeguard on-stand. Radioed code red, administered AED and provided additional care
  • Evan Young of Mandeville, La.: aquatics supervisor, provided assessment and CPR compressions
  • Jude Hinson of Baton Rouge, La.: adventure attendant at climbing wall, assisted with AED, provide second round of rescue breaths
  • Tyler Mattingly of Ashburn, Va.: facilities assistant, notified EMS
  • Kristen St. Cyr of New Orleans, La.: adventure supervisor, assisted emergency responders from front of the building to the scene
  • Caila Palmer of New Orleans, La.: facilities supervisor, assisted in general team response
  • Joshua Brignac of Baton Rouge, La.: fitness supervisor, assisted in general team response 

“They saved my career. Not just my life, but my career, and that’s just a huge thing for me,” Oxley said. “I’m 66 and I’m getting near retirement, but I don’t really want to retire. I’ve got four graduate students who are relying on me. It’s just impossible to say how much I owe these people. My career has been doing math, and doing math has been one of the great satisfactions in my life. Swimming is the other passion that I have, apart from friends and family of course.”

Oxley holds the honor of the highest professorial ranking that LSU gives out.

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