School worker has life-saving principal to thank

Posted: Updated:
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- A life-saving principal knew it wasn't normal when one of her employees failed to show up for work last week, and that intuition very likely saved a life.

Students are ecstatic to see Martha Hernandez back in class this week. They run up and hug her as she talks to each one, and even singles a few out – alternating between jokes and instructions.

She’s glad to be back, too, because last week she almost died.

“Tuesday night, I wasn't feeling well, and I took my diabetes medication and I took my sleeping medication,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez, a member of the teaching staff at Western Valley Middle School, wasn't in her classroom by the time school started the next day.

“I monitor my staff members.  I'm really concerned, I'm a mother, so I can tell when things aren't right,” said Assistant Principal Patricia Davis, Western Valley Schools.

Davis had her secretary call Hernandez at home.

“The secretary called and she looked at me and I said, ‘let me take the phone,’" said Davis. “Martha was on the other end and I said, ‘Martha, are you okay?  And she was like, ‘yeah, I'm pretty much okay.” And I said, ‘you don't sound okay.”’

Davis and the school nurse rushed to Hernandez’s house.  When they got there they found Hernandez groggy and obviously out of it.

“I was scared because she didn't look like Martha.  I was really afraid,” said Davis.

The nurse realized Hernandez’s diabetes drugs had likely had a bad reaction with her sleeping medication. They called 911 and Hernandez was rushed to the hospital.

“I woke up in the hospital and said, ‘what am I doing here?’” said Hernandez.

Medical staff told Hernandez she probably wouldn't have lived if Davis hadn't come looking for her.

“I don't see [Principal Davis] as a boss.  I see her as a friend, as a sister, as someone who is there more now than ever - I think she's God's angel,” said Hernandez, smiling at Principal Davis sitting beside her.

Hernandez also said she used to be in denial about managing her diabetes but now considers this a wake-up call to be much more careful about her mediation and overall health.