About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star
Not your typical day at the office
Three nurses at Mary Washington Healthcare put their training to use recently when they rescued a man who had collapsed outside their office.
The incident happened Jan. 5 at the Mary Washington Home Health and Hospice office in Massaponax. For Joyce Little, it started with the words that no car owner wants to hear: “Joyce, someone has hit your car. It’s smoking.”
Little’s co-worker had just returned from lunch to find an accident in the parking lot behind their office. The driver of a flower delivery van had suffered a cardiac arrest, lost control of his vehicle and slammed into her parked car.
The horn was blaring on the delivery van. The driver still had his foot on the accelerator, and the vehicle was pushing against Little’s Jeep Grand Cherokee.
When Little and two of her colleagues, Sheryl Mock and Donna Hebb, reached the scene, they found the driver, a middle-aged man, upright and passed out in his seat. His airbag had deployed.
One of them switched off the van’s ignition, and the three tried to revive the man. White smoke rolled from the tangle of vehicles, accompanied by a strong smell of burnt rubber.
“I don’t know what this car is going to do,” Little remembers thinking. “We have to get him out.”
So Little grabbed the man’s feet, and with the others, including Dawn Shannon, at his head, they moved him from behind the wheel and onto the ground.
Little is one of the supervisors at Massaponax office. Mock is a field supervisor, and Hebb is a case manager. All three are registered nurses and trained in CPR.
The man had no pulse and was not breathing, so Hebb began chest compressions. From inside the office, a worker brought a barrier mask so Mock could begin respirations. Leann Curtis, another worker, brought a defibrillator. They hooked the man to the machine, but it did not recommend a shock.
Soon a Spotsylvania rescue squad arrived and took the man to the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center. From there he was transferred to Henrico Doctors’ Hospital in Richmond, where he was still hospitalized this morning.
Little said her car was totaled, and that she’s driving a rental vehicle now. “God used everything and everyone here, and they worked so well together,” she said.
Update, 3:45 p.m.: I take the blame for the confusion surrounding the name of one of the workers involved in the rescue. (See comments section.) The original post did not have Leann’s name. When Cathy Peterjohn saw that, she asked that I include it. That seemed like a reasonable request, so I went back and added Leann’s name.