A student at Equestrian Trails Elementary School in Wellington, Florida nearly died last week from a freak accident. If it weren't for the quick thinking of his teachers, he likely would have.
Annalisa Moradi and her 8-year-old Kolston are counting their blessings.
"Without them, this story would have been different,” Moradi said.
Kolston, a third-grader, nearly died last Wednesday, all because of a wooden pencil.
"He's a hockey player, he's a lacrosse player. I think and worry all day long about what's going to happen to him and little did I know that it would be a pencil that would ultimately almost end his life,” Moradi said.
Kolston had just sharpened the pencil and placed it point up in his backpack sleeve.
"When I went to go sit down, it stabbed me in my artery," Kolston said.
The brachial artery in his arm was impaled. Half the pencil sank into the skin just above his armpit.
"I didn't really feel anything,” he said.
And that’s why Kolston accidentally pulled the pencil out when he stood up. With blood pouring everywhere, Kolston immediately ran and told his nearest teachers.
"We plan for so much with our schools, our crisis response teams. Our first aid training and everything but this was just one of those things that wouldn't be written on a piece of paper to prepare for,” said Elizabeth Richards, one of the teachers who helped Kolston. "It was one one of those freak accidents, we knew that he needed medical attention immediately."
Richards actually studied in nursing school before becoming a teacher. That background expertise took over, despite being surrounded by countless children walking around the hallways during class dismissal.
"We laid him down on the floor, applied continuous pressure to the point,” she said. "Other instincts take over and everything else around us didn't seem to matter. Kolston really is the true hero here. He came right out and got an adult."
Teacher Mandi Kapopoulos used her own shirt sleeve create a tourniquet.
"I pulled my arm out of the sleeve and wrapped it around his arm where it was bleeding,” Kapopoulos said. "He was brave. He wasn't crying. He wasn't screaming."
It took paramedics 20 minutes to arrive but the teachers stayed with Kolston the entire time, applying pressure to the wound.
"As a teacher and as a mother, I would want the same thing for my children, to put the kids first and to try in any situation like that to do what we need to do quickly and calmly," Kapopoulos said.
Since the injury happened toward the end of school, Annalisa Moradi was actually at the front of the school waiting to pick her son up. Teachers informed her of what happened and helped take care of the other children while waiting for the ambulance.
"He was covered in blood and I knew if was obviously very serious," Moradi said. “Without the teachers and the principal, this story would have been different."
It wasn’t until Moradi was en route that paramedics told her just how serious the injury was.
"When we were taking the ride in the ambulance, they told me if these teachers didn't place a tourniquet on his arm, we would have lost him," she said.
With two staples in his arm, Kolston went back to school the very next day.
His teachers hope this experience can be a lesson for other parents.
"As a mother of two children myself, knowing how precious life is -- our thanks and gratitude comes everyday when we watch Kolston walk through these hallways," Richards said.
Moradi will make sure her son is more careful next time he packs his backpack.
"Even if you're in a hurry, there's a place for your pencil -- your pencil box! Slow down, take the time to put it in there," she said. "Just be aware of what's going on around you."
Medical experts suggest that if you get impaled or stabbed, it’s best to leave the object in until paramedics arrive so that blood can’t escape the wound.
As for Kolston, he did not need to get a blood transfusion, thanks to the teachers helping to stop the bleeding. His staples in his arm should be removed in a few days.