Associate professor of Spanish Maria Calatayud had a seizure on the first day of classes in the Gainesville campus’ Nesbitt building, according to two students who were witnesses to the event.
Calatayud began teaching her Elementary Spanish II class for the first time on the Gainesville campus Monday morning.
“She was shaking and looked like she was just really nervous throughout class,” Michelle Cain, a student in the class, said. “She mentioned that it was her first time teaching on this campus, so we all assumed it was just nerves until she collapsed.”
Students realized the severity of the issue and jumped into action. Students in the front of the room laid Calatayud on one of the front tables, as others left the room to get help and call 911.
They managed to receive help from fellow student Carmen Tsui, a lead orientation leader helping out in the main lobby for Weeks of Welcome, and Ric Kabat, Associate Dean of Arts and Letters.
Tsui, certified in CPR and Basic Life Support, knew to lay Calatayud on her side. The seizure lasted six to 10 minutes, then the professor slowly became alert and asked for some water. During this time, campus police and a paramedic team arrived as well.
“I noticed some frothy stuff coming out of her mouth, so I knew we had to lay her on her side,” Tsui said. “Once she was breathing normally and responsive, the dispatcher told us we could lay her on her back again.”
As the students from her class were dismissed, paramedics placed Calatayud on a stretcher and took her to the ambulance awaiting outside.