Pregnant teacher has heart attack, ‘dies’; students perform CPR, save her life
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Pregnant teacher has heart attack, ‘dies’; students perform CPR, save her life

Chen Danziger, 29, in her fifth month, collapses outside of her school in Beit Shemesh; two students keep her heart pumping until medics arrive

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Screen capture from video of Dr. Gabby Elbaz Greener, right, and teacher Chen Danziger, left, who survived a near fatal heart attack after two pupils kept her alive using CPR, December 17, 2019. (Courtesy Hadassah Hospital)
Screen capture from video of Dr. Gabby Elbaz Greener, right, and teacher Chen Danziger, left, who survived a near fatal heart attack after two pupils kept her alive using CPR, December 17, 2019. (Courtesy Hadassah Hospital)

A teacher, five months pregnant, collapsed from a heart attack outside her school Tuesday but two pupils administered first aid, and kept her heart pumping until medics arrived, saving her life.

Chen Danziger, 29, a mother of two, “died” four times but medics using electric shock treatment were able to resuscitate her, a hospital doctor said.

Danziger collapsed at the entrance to the Branco Weiss School in Beit Shemesh where she works. Two pupils, one of whom is a volunteer medic with the Magen David Adom emergency service, rushed over and began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Within minutes MDA and United Hatzalah medics arrived and used a defibrillator to administer four electric shocks until her heart returned to a regular beat. She was taken to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in serious condition where doctors were able to stabilize her.

The condition of the fetus inside of her was not immediately clear.

Doctor Gabby Elbaz Greener, who treated Danziger, said it was “very lucky” that the two pupils noticed the teacher and were able to attend to her until the medics arrived with the defibrillator.

“If it were not for the life-saving treatment by the two pupils and the MDA team, she would not be with us,” Elbaz Greener said as she stood beside Danziger’s bed.

“She sort of died and came back four times,” the doctor said.

Danziger remained in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit on Tuesday evening, but had recovered sufficiently to speak about her experience, though she said she recalled nothing of her brush with death.

“I went up to the school from the carpark, I sat on a rock, and from that moment I don’t remember anything,” Danziger said in a video released by the hospital. “They told me that two pupils saved my life. These are not my pupils, but I know them. It is very moving to know that I am in a safe place, specifically due to the pupils — that they know how to do this and so saved my live. It is fulfilling.”

Doctors treating Danziger learned that her brother suffered a similar incident four years ago, collapsing from a heart attack and only narrowly surviving the incident.

As a precaution, Danziger, who lives in Efrat, will be fitted with a pacemaker, said Elbaz Greener.

Elbaz Greener knows first hand what it means to be close to death. In 1996, she was critically injured in a terrorist bus bombing in Jerusalem, nearly dying of two severed arteries. She recovered and went on to become a cardiologist.

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