People are lauding a San Carlos, California, third-grader as a hero after he saved his mom's life by applying the CPR skills that he learned in school when she became unconscious.
"I'm incredibly proud of him," said the mother of Dimitri Meram, according to KSWB. "He truly is my special angel. The second he was born, he got his little finger out of the incubator and grabbed my hand. Just a very special connection."
It all went down earlier in the year, when Dimitri took a trip to the beach with his family. His mom was trying to get Dimitri out of their van when the door hit her in the head, knocking her out.
She crumpled to the ground and was not breathing or "moving at all," Dimitri recounted to KUSI.
"I just gotta do CPR," he told KSWB. "I mean, I learned it."
He sprang into action, applying the skills he'd learned a couple months previous from his school teacher after the San Diego Unified School District and the American Heart Association joined together in 2016 for a program supported by a $100,000 grant.
"He was pumping her chest like you wouldn't believe, for a couple minutes, like a professional," recalled Frank Meram, Dimitri's dad, according to KUSI. "I was on the phone with 911 at the same time -- panicking -- but he was so calm."
After some time, his mom's heart started beating again, and she was breathing.
"His spontaneous reaction to that emergency event was just amazing," Frank said. "It was something I was so grateful to the training he had here [at school]."
Frank said that his boy's "professional" application of skills "saved his mom's life" that day. She woke up five days later in the hospital, not remembering what had happened until Frank told her that her boy had saved her life, notes KSWB.
On Sept. 7, Green Elementary School and the American Heart Association honored Dimitri during a ceremony for what his teacher called "lifesaving efforts and … quick action."
"We knew that this was going to be an important project together and so thank you for your support," said an American Heart Association representative. "Thank you to the teachers for your willingness to learn and to train. This skill is so important."
At the ceremony, SDUSD Superintendent Cindy Marten said that when the district was beginning to implement the CPR training, she'd said: "If this program saves just one life it will be worth it."
"We already know that it has saved one life and there is more to come," she added.