Five months after enrolling in the College of the Canyons Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program, Jonathan Nasrallah found himself in a worst-case scenario, which prompted him to use his newly acquired skills and knowledge to save the life of a family member.
On Sunday, May 9, while celebrating Mother’s Day with his family in Glendale, Nasrallah’s uncle Steve collapsed.
“He’s like a dad to me,” said Nasrallah. “In a second, the adrenaline started rushing inside of me and I knew that I had two to three seconds to do something.”
Nasrallah, 21, did everything he had learned in his EMT classes up until that point. After checking his uncle’s pulse and placing his ear to his face to detect breath, he realized his uncle had gone into full cardiac arrest.
Recalling from his studies that the human brain can only survive five to six minutes without oxygen, Nasrallah sprang into action and started administering CPR as his family watched and screamed in horror.
“I remember everything around me disappeared and everyone zoned out, like you see in the movies,” said Nasrallah. “I was praying, ‘God, I don’t want my uncle to die in my hands.’
Nasrallah used his body weight during CPR so his arms didn’t get tired, just as his EMT instructor Patti Haley had taught him.
With his father’s help with ventilations, Nasrallah was able to do approximately 100 compressions per minute until the paramedics arrived and took over.
Nasrallah’s quick actions saved his uncle’s life.
Once his uncle had been taken to a hospital, Nasrallah called Haley.
“I said, ‘Thank you for pushing us,’” recalled Nasrallah, speaking on behalf of his EMT classmates. “Not only do they teach us CPR, but they make sure we practice. The program as a whole, from the way it is structured to the equipment we use, is amazing.”
Haley remembers how excited Nasrallah sounded over the phone when recounting the incident to her. She was immediately impressed by his quick thinking and ability to manage the scene and give directions to other family members.
“It is much easier to take care of an anonymous patient with a team of EMS responders, than to handle an unexpected incident with a loved one at a family celebration as a lone EMS provider,” said Haley. “Jonathan is an example of the outstanding men and women that are part of the COC EMT program.”
Two days later, when Nasrallah’s uncle woke up from therapeutic hypothermia—a medically induced procedure to prevent brain damage in cardiac arrest patients and aid in recovery—he had no idea what had happened.
“He thought he passed out,” laughed Nasrallah. “He was shocked and full of big thanks.”
When Nasrallah completed his EMT training at COC in June, he was awarded the First Lifesaver Award.
“Patti [Haley] came up with it because she said she had never had a student save a family member’s life before,” said Nasrallah.
Nasrallah plans to work as an EMT for a couple of years before applying to medical school.
In the meantime, he will continue working toward an associate degree in public health science at COC.
The Granada Hills resident says saving his uncle’s life not only brought his family closer together, but it also confirmed his decision to become an ER doctor.
“That whole incident sealed the deal with me,” said Nasrallah. “It made me want to do it even more and save other lives.”
In partnership with the Community College Consortium for OER, College of the Canyons has received a second grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to expand and extend the Open for Anti-Racism program supporting faculty in California Community Colleges.
College of the Canyons is one of four California community colleges recognized for being among "America’s Best Colleges for Student Voting" by Washington Monthly magazine for its commitment to inspiring students to vote and actively participate in community decisions.
College of the Canyons has received a $1,493,379 grant award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund a new scholarship program to increase retention, transfer, and graduation rates among science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors in key student populations, including Black, Latinx, women, first-generation college students, and low-income students.
In an effort to keep adopted pets from returning to the shelter, the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control has launched a free online resource center to help pet owners who can no longer keep their pets.
The population of the city of Santa Clarita grew by 22.9% between 2010 and 2020, according to U.S. Census data released Monday that will be used to redistrict boundaries for various political offices in California.
The American Cancer Society Santa Clarita Valley held a Relay Rally at Westfield Valencia Town Center Saturday afternoon to raise awareness about its annual Relay for Life of the Santa Clarita Valley event on Saturday, Oct. 2.
Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Tuesday confirmed 32 new deaths and 1,238 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 35,326 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley. Additionally, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital officials confirmed one new death bringing the total deaths since the pandemic began to 167.
The Rancho Camulos National Historic Landmark is hosting a series of special activities at “Last Sundays at the Landmark” with a special tribute in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month of the songs of Early California from the del Valle Family of Camulos, set for Sept. 26, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
City of Santa Clarita Transit officials were forced to temporarily pause two trips on Monday after 20 employees, including bus drivers and call dispatchers, called out of work due to COVID-19-related reasons.
Both classified staff and teachers in the William S. Hart Union High School District voiced their displeasure with the ongoing negotiations regarding employee pay during Wednesday night’s governing board meeting, saying morale is low across the board for site staff.
Officials from Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported an additional death Monday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths to 166 since the onset of the pandemic, hospital spokesman Patrick Moody confirmed.
College of the Canyons, No. 6, remained unbeaten on Saturday with the Cougars' defense coming away with four turnovers — including three straight interceptions to end the game — to defeat No. 8 Fullerton College 22-17 at Nathan Shapell Stadium.
WiSH hosted several very popular informational college webinars during the ’21-’22 academic year; this year they have expanded the program to meet the needs of all students considering college as an option.
Three local business leaders discussed the ways their organizations survived the COVID-19 pandemic during a panel discussion organized by the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp. as part of its semi-annual Economic Outlook event held Friday morning at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons.
Hundreds of Santa Clarita residents convened on a large dirt lot behind a shopping center on Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country Saturday morning to join the annual effort of cleaning up the Santa Clara River.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed the first death due to the West Nile virus for the 2021 season in Los Angeles County. The patient, a resident of the eastern region of Los Angeles County, was hospitalized and died from WNV-associated neuro-invasive disease.