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Chesterfield teen jumps into action when grandmother stops breathing

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A Chesterfield 13-year-old may want to be a veterinarian, but some folks think the rising eighth-grader may want to consider treating people instead.

Salema Robinson was at home on July 15 when she realized something was wrong with her 77-year-old grandmother.

"I could her she wasn't breathing right and she wasn't responding to me," Salema said.


Realizing the danger, Salema picked up the phone and called 911.

After a few questions, the emergency dispatcher began instructing Salema what she need to do while the ambulance was en route.

"She told me to lay my grandmother down, flat on her back, on the floor," she explained.

After she got her grandmother off the couch said the dispatcher walked her though how to perform CPR.  And that's exactly what the teen did for the next three to four minutes.

"I've seen it on TV a lot of times, how to do. But I wasn't exactly sure because it's a lot different doing it in real life," Salema said.

Betty Penn was rushed to the hospital for respiratory failure. She had a breathing tube inserted and was in the ICU for a week.


After two weeks in the hospital, Penn was released to a rehab center where she will stay for about five weeks.

Family members credit Salema with saving her grandmother's life.

"I'm very proud of her. I'm very proud of her and very thankful for her, yes I am," Penn said.