In the future, Kennedy Hall envisions an automated CPR assistance device in every home, right beside a fire extinguisher. It’s a medical advancement that she knows could save lives — including both of her late parents.
“If a device like this had been made at the time, I am wondering how much of a difference it would have made for them, if they would still be here, or how much of a bigger chance that they would have had,” Hall said. “So if something like this was created, it would make a huge difference, I think, in the CPR world and in the medical world.”
Hall, a senior at Cedar Valley High School in Eagle Mountain, was named the school’s nominee for the Career and Technical Education Presidential Scholarship Award. She came up with the idea for the device while in the school’s CTE pathway, and is hoping to one day make it a reality.
Working in the medical field is a family trend. Her mother, Julie Hall, was a CNA, and Kennedy Hall’s brothers are EMTs. Her brothers taught her how to take blood pressure, and she grew up reading her mother’s nursing textbooks.
Her goal is to get certified as an EMT, attend Utah State University and then become a trauma surgeon.
But that wasn’t always the plan.
Hall’s father died after he collapsed and his heart stopped. Then, last year, her mother had a heart attack. Hall’s mother received CPR until first responders arrived, but died after sustaining brain damage.
“She was an amazing mom,” Hall said. “She was super caring and super loving, and like, no matter what you did, she was always understanding about it.”
Since then, Hall has become hyper aware of what’s happening with the people around her.
“I realized after the fact that my mom had been having signs and symptoms of a heart attack, but we really never noticed it,” she said.
Both of her parents were resuscitated, but died after a lack of oxygen caused brain damage.
Hall’s idea is that the automated CPR device that would fit over the nose and mouth, give instructions for CPR and perform artificial breaths.
“Many people have the basic idea of CPR, but don’t know what they are doing,” Hall said.
She said performing breaths will help people who are resuscitated have a greater chance of living.
Brigitte Reall, a CTE specialist at Cedar Valley High School, met Hall this year through the school’s CTE pathway.
“She wants to help, to turn it around and make awareness of these issues that we have with CPR,” Reall said.
She said Hall is humble, especially after experiencing tragedies so early in life.
“I am just so impressed with her strength,” Reall said.