A University of Central Florida senior has penned an emotional apology to the family of a teen after failing to save his life with CPR.
"I guess my emotions really did get the best of me," Manny Orozco Ballestas of Orlando, Fla., told ABC News. "At the moment the only thing I could think of was to blast it on Facebook in hopes it would get to them [the family]. Never by any stretch of the imagination did I think this would go this viral.
"I just wanted them to let them know that everything was done to try and save Michael's life."
Orozco Ballestas, 21, said on Sept. 21 he was waiting in the hallway for his class to begin when a mob of students rushed out of a nearby classroom.
"Within 30 seconds I heard a kid say 'Where is the AED machine?'" Orozco Ballestas said. "I asked him to take me to him and that's when I encountered Michael."
Orozco Ballestas, who's CPR-certified and trained in both basic life support and advanced cardiac life support with the American Heart Association, said he entered the room where he began chest compressions on Michael Namey, an 18-year-old freshman at UCF.
"It felt like forever," he said. "I gave him breath, I cardioverted him with the AED, which essentially means I shocked him--it was two or three times. EMS got there and I continued compressions with them while they tried to get a line in and intubated him.
"I was talking to Michael, I was just screaming at him to please come back and I was trying to stay concentrated," Orozco Ballestas added. "I guess in my head, I didn't know his name at the time so I was saying 'Dude, please come back.'"
Orozco Ballestas said the other students present during the incident told him that Namey exhibited what appeared to be seizure-like convulsions before falling backwards onto the floor.
Namey was brought to the local hospital, but the following day Orozco Ballestas said the dean of students telephoned to inform him that the teen had passed away.
"It was devastating," he said. "I was in pretty bad shape. I was expecting it, but at the same time I was still hopeful because he was kept in the hospital and when I got that call it was kind of like getting a call about someone in my family.
"I spent the entire day trying to find contact for the family, but I couldn't find anything," he added.
Determined to reach Namey's loved ones, Orozco Ballestas posted a heartbreaking note on his Facebook page.
The note read, in part:
As a first responder, I was his fighting chance. I did everything I was ever trained to do but I was unsuccessful. The image of his face as I gave him his last breaths and pumped his chest will never leave me. Michael (I believe his name was), wherever you are now, please know that I am so sorry to you man. I am sorry I failed you. I'm sorry you lost your life so soon. I did not know you and I will never get that chance but I have no doubt in my mind that you were a remarkable human being on your path to becoming an extraordinary adult. To his parents, if I never get the chance to find you, I hope this reaches you: your son fought for his life without feeling any pain. I did everything I knew how to possibly do but it wasn't enough. I cannot fathom the pain you feel and my words will never ease them but please know that I am so sorry. I will work everyday, as a student of UCF, an individual of society, and hopefully one day as a politician, to assure that what happened to your son can be prevented in schools nationwide. Whether it be by spreading the importance of knowing CPR, adding more AED machines to schools, I will make his life meaningful somehow, someway. I promise.
Three hours later, Orozco Ballestas said, Michael's brother, Joseph, commented on the post.
“It really helps to bring a sense of closure knowing that so much was done for Michael,” Joseph Namey told ABC News.
"Our condolences go to Michael's family and friends," a spokesperson from UCF wrote to ABC News. "The unexpected loss of someone so young is truly heartbreaking. We thank the students who bravely rushed to help Michael, performing CPR and alerting UCF police, who arrived on scene within one minute."
Since Namey's death, Orozco Ballestas said he met Namey’s mother and started a GoFundMe page for the family in an attempt to organize a school vigil. Orozco Ballestas also wants to start a CPR awareness group with the American Heart Association.
"I just really want to bring awareness, reminding everyone that getting CPR certified isn't just about the certification," he said. "Even if a couple more people could be saved from cardiac arrest, that would somewhat make Michael's life even more meaningful."