Heart defect cited in Philly school death of boy

    Authorities in Philadelphia say a congenital heart defect killed a first-grader who collapsed in his south Philadelphia elementary school classroom earlier in the week.

    Spokesman James Garrow of the Philadelphia Department of Health said Friday that 7-year-old Sebastian Gerena died of “anomalous origin of the left coronary artery,” a condition that researchers say can lead to sudden death among the young.

    School district officials say staff trained in first aid and CPR tried to revive the boy Wednesday afternoon at the Andrew Jackson School, but he was pronounced dead shortly after being taken to a hospital.

    A district spokesman said the school of 450 students only has a nurse every Thursday and every other Friday. The death has sparked protests by parents, teachers and some students calling for more funding.

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