Hero pupil saves coach’s life

Sans Souci Girls High School sports coach, Shafiek Murphy, Grade 9 pupil, Kyra Stevens and principal Ruschda OShea.

A Sans Souci Girls High School pupil has been hailed for saving the life of the school’s sport coach when he fell into a diabetic coma.

Grade 9 pupil, Kyra Stevens,15, was called on to help when Shafiek Murphy, 48, passed out on the morning of Thursday July 11.

Like Mr Murphy, Kyra is also a diabetic and teachers asked for her advice while they waited for emergency services to arrive.

Mr Murphy said he had been busy preparing for a netball tournament and collapsed when he went to the community room. “I had a sandwich at 10am, that was the last I can remember, until I woke up at 5.30pm at the hospital.”

Teacher Firsica Beukes found Mr Murphy on the floor and principal Rushchda O’Shea made an intercom announcement to call Kyra.

Kyra said when she got to the scene she was not in a panic even though it was the first time she saw someone in a diabetic coma.

“I checked his sugar level. I check his one hand where I saw his hand was already cold, I could not find blood, so I told the teacher to keep his other hand and keep it warm, I finally got blood and saw his sugar region was high and immediately I asked where is his emergency kit and where is his insulin,” she said.

Kyra then administered insulin to Mr Murphy.

Kyra was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 13.

Along with her family, she attended educational training for three days at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in 2017, which taught them what to do if she fell into a diabetic coma.

The training was the reason why she was able to remain so calm under pressure.

Teacher Jean Allen accompanied Mr Murphy to the hospital and told doctors that Kyra had administered 25mg of insulin.

Ms Allen said the doctors told her that if Mr Murphy did not get the insulin in time he could have died as his sugar levels were very high.

Mr Murphy, who is also a Western Province under-15 girls rugby coach, said he had started feeling sick the week before when he was on tour with the team in Durban.

He was taken to hospital and the doctors told him he had tonsillitis and a chest infection. “The doctors said the infection is making my blood thick in my body, which is pushing up my sugar levels,” he said.

Mr Murphy said he was still feeling disorientated and suffered damage to his kidneys. “I am checking my sugar levels five to six times a day, especially when I am eating something, compared to the three times a day which I normally did,” he said.

Before the incident, Mr Murphy knew that Kyra was diabetic, so he had a talk with her to give her guidance and support.

Mr Murphy said he feels overwhelmed that she saved his life.

He believes it is important for any teacher or pupil to disclose their medical history to the school so that they know what to do when an emergency occurs.

Kyra’s tip for for other teenagers with diabetes is to take it in their stride, day by day. “ It is hard, they should go to support groups and talk to someone that will understand and they must continue doing the things they enjoy doing,” she said.

Kyra also enjoys playing soccer, dancing and athletics.

Ms O’ Shea said the school is proud of Kyra. “She has shown tenacity and resilience and has taken charge of the whole situation, “ she said.

Mr Murphy, as a token of appreciation, took Kyra, her father and brother to Newlands last Saturday to watch the rugby.