Danielle Patterson Kansas
No one ever expects to save a man’s life, especially on a Saturday afternoon, in a crowd of 55,000 people and on a day where the temperature was 24 degrees, at best. Little did I know that on this day, at a Kansas State University football game, I not only would perform CPR on the man that collapsed but also meet some amazing people that quickly developed into close friends.
It was Saturday, November 23, 2013, early morning, when my son and I left Topeka to head west to our own "Man-happiness" (Manhattan, Kansas). My son and I believe it is the greatest place on earth during football season. Routinely, we meet my mother there, for every home football game. as we have season tickets to watch our favorite purple team, the KSU Wildcats play football. This Saturday was no different.
As veteran season ticket holders, we get to know everyone who sits around us over the course of the season. We socialize and have a really good time so it’s not unusual to notice people who haven’t been in our section before. Oddly enough, I found myself glancing over at this gentleman and his family quite often as I hadn’t noticed them before. It appeared he was there with his son in law and two grandchildren. In fact, I even commented to my mother that he was probably thinking I was flirting with him.
During the pregame festivities, on Senior Day, the players were being recognized for their college football career as it would be their last home game as a K-State Wildcat. Towards the end of the celebration, I glanced over and noticed the man I had pinpointed earlier, had fallen back onto the man sitting behind him. I sat there for just a second and thought, "really". Did this really just happen?
Immediately, the people around him were yelling for a doctor. I got up, threw my blanket on the floor, ripped my gloves off and proceeded to assess the man. Initially, it appeared as though he might have just had his 5 layers of clothes too tight around his neck. After loosening his clothing, I realized that I needed to open his airway in hopes that he would take a breath. Under my breath I said to myself, "please just take a breath". He did, sort of; it was more like sigh rather than a breath, not exactly what I was hoping for.
By this time, several nice bystanders had come to assist me. Two young men helped to lay him on the bleachers while a PACU nurse helped maintain his airway so that I could start chest compressions. My heavy coat and his 5 layers of clothing made chest compressions a challenge. My son quickly dialed 911 and had my mother speak with the Riley County EMS. My mother, a retired ER nurse, was able to give the EMS the information they needed. Once they arrived, they placed him on a spine board, defibrillated him twice, and continued chest compressions. Luckily, he awoke and was speaking before they even got him to Mercy Health Center which was just across the street.
The staff at KSU did an amazing job assisting and helping the situation. We learned, prior to half time, that he was alive and doing well. He had been taken to the cath lab where he was found to have a 100% occlusion of his right coronary artery.
As an ICU nurse, this is what I do every day. I feel honored that so many people took notice and recognized my efforts. I was recognized at the January 4, 2014 KSU vs. Oklahoma basketball game, which I was able to attend with the man who collapsed and his family. It was pretty amazing as it had only been 6 weeks since his incident. I was blessed to be there with him and the ability to save his life. The honor and attention I have received from this, I share with all of my fellow nurses who are not honored enough for their life saving efforts. I have been blessed to work at Stormont Vail and have been mentored and coached by amazing people. I dedicate my honor to my employer and all my mentors along the way. They have made me the nurse I am today!