Saturday, November 17, 2007

Working with Heros!

My coworkers are heros!!!!

Heroes in the air
St. Francis Hospital Intensive Care Unit nurses Andrew Sledge (from left), Jill McDaniel and Barbara Still were on an Oct. 21 flight, bound for a cruise vacation, when they were summoned to save a man’s life.
By KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer

Nurse trio saves life at start of vacation

There are some jobs that you just can't leave at the office. Saving lives is one of them.
Jill McDaniel, Andrew Sledge and Barbara Still, all nurses in St. Francis Hospital's Intensive Care Unit, were packed into the back of a jumbo jet last month, headed for a cruise, when a fellow passenger's life began slipping away.

McDaniel, 26, said she's not sure why the otherwise healthy-looking middle-aged man stopped breathing -- only that he definitely did.

"He completely stopped breathing, and his eyes started rolling into the back of his head," she said.

It was about 9:30 a.m. Oct. 21 aboard American Airlines Flight 979 -- thousands of feet in the air and 45 minutes out of Dallas -- headed to Miami, Fla., where the nurses planned to board a cruise ship at 4 p.m.

When a flight attendant asked whether any medical personnel were on board, McDaniel and Sledge learned that the sick man was just two rows in front of them.

They were able to speak to him for a short time before his eyes rolled back and his breathing stopped.

Then it was time for them to get to work.

McDaniel gave the man four chest compressions and four rescue breaths before Sledge, 26, picked him up and placed him in the aisle.

McDaniel continued with chest compressions while Sledge tried to breathe life back into the man.

Meanwhile, Still hooked up the man to an Automatic External Defibrillator, which qualified medical personnel can use to determine whether it is necessary to shock someone.

Two to three long minutes passed. Nothing.

Then, just as the device showed that no shock was necessary, Sledge felt things change for the better.

"One of the last breaths, I could feel a resistance," he said. "It's where he's trying to breathe out while I'm trying to breathe in.

"I looked up and his eyes started to open up some."

They had saved a life.

"He was essentially dead; he was gray and he wasn't breathing, and we were able to revive him," Still said.

Whose life did they save?

They don't know.

Fifteen or 20 minutes after they began CPR, the 757 made an emergency landing in Shreveport, La., where another problem awaited:

Shreveport's airport is so small that it didn't have a portable stairway high enough to reach the plane's door.

The paramedics had to be put on the plane with scaffolding.

McDaniel said the man was taken out of the back of the plane, but she's not sure how he got to the ground.

That's the last thing they know about him.

They think of him, though.

"You have to sit back and think, 'We saved that man's life,' " Still said. "And in the next breath, you think, 'We do that every day.' "
McDaniel, Sledge and Still work three 12-hour shifts together every week.

Still, 32, described their work: "If you watch the news, that's generally our patients."
So they're used to unpleasant emergencies.

But they're also used to dealing with them in a hospital, not in an airplane. Not while on their way to the Virgin Islands.

All three acknowledged that they were a bit scared at first, but another feeling soon took over.

"When you're outside your unit, you wonder, 'Is it going to come to me?' and it did," Still said.

And about that cruise?

The nurses didn't get to Miami until a few hours after their ship had sailed.

They caught up with it the next day in Nassau, the Bahamas.

They had a very nice time.

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