Amy Hunter, a professor at Uintah Basin Applied Technology College in Roosevelt, Utah, keeps her students engaged. Good thing, too, because the quick-thinking students recently saved her life. 

Hunter, 36, has a congenital heart abnormality known as Ebstein’s malformation of the tricuspid valve. While Hunter was giving a lecture to her class, her heart stopped beating and she collapsed onto her desk. Students snapped into action, calling 911, alerting office staff to bring a defibrillator and bringing in students from an applied nursing class across the hall. 

By a stroke of good luck, there were a half-dozen emergency medical technicians just a few doors from Hunter’s classroom, and they tried to stabilize her for transport to a nearby hospital. 

Then her heart stopped. Medical technicians worked to clear her airway and shocked her with the defibrillator twice, finally restarting her heart. 

“She died and they got her back,” siad Dr. Greg Staker, who helped work on Hunter. “The fact that someone started CPR on her had a huge impact in saving her life.” 

Hunter’s prognosis was grim; her condition necessitated a medically induced coma and the use of a lung bypass machine. But she has steadily improved, although she remains in the hospital. 

“If Amy would have been driving, or if Amy had been in her office, or if Amy had been anywhere else at that time,” her sister Jodi Reinhardt said, “she probably wouldn’t be here with us.” 

Hunter now needs a heart transplant. Her friends and family have set up a website for donations to help defray the costs of the transplant. 

“Amy is a true success story for all the doctors, nurses and support staff that have worked with her over the years,” says the donation website. “Her grit, determination and love for life will be the catalyst that will propel her to be entered in rodeos sooner rather than later with a brand new healthy heart.”