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13:38 PM

Critical Care Nurse Saves Lives in Emergency Department - and at the Gym!

Nurse helps save life at YMCA

Critical Care Nurse Tracy Anderson is accustomed to saving lives in the Children’s Mercy Emergency Department. During her workout at the gym, not so much.

Yet that’s just what happened recently when she and the staff at the Bonner Springs YMCA took fast action to help a man requiring emergency assistance.

“I was on the elliptical machine when I heard the AED alarm go off,” Tracy said, referring to the portable defibrillator used to restore regular heart rhythm in a cardiac arrest emergency. “I got off the elliptical to see what was going on, and learned that someone in the men’s locker room in the pool area was in trouble.”

In trouble indeed: “He was out cold on the floor, had no pulse,” Tracy said. The Y’s young lifeguard was preparing to help him, “but I figured it was probably the first scary thing he had encountered.” So while the lifeguard cleared the man’s airway, Tracy did CPR, dried him off and “got the AED paddles on him.“

The man was breathing and trying to talk, but still not “with it,” by the time the ambulance and EMTs arrived to rush him to the hospital.

“After the fact, I’ve learned what a wonderful man he is,” said Tracy, who hadn’t previously crossed paths with him during her workout sessions. “He’s a counselor at a prison, counseling men on how to be better fathers. He knows there’s a reason he was saved – he still has more good to do.”

While he hasn’t yet returned to his exercise program at the Y, Heather Imhoff, the facility’s aquatics director, reports his wife has come by with a thank-you card, many words of gratitude and a message that he promises to express his thanks in person when he is able.

Meanwhile, Heather’s thanks go out to Tracy.

“This is something we practice, we have training every month and run scenarios, but there’s a difference between training and an actual emergency,” Heather said.

Heather particularly appreciated the extra effort Tracy made to circle back to the Y’s staff, especially the young lifeguard, and reassure them that they had done the right thing.

“Every single person did their part that day, but Tracy set the tone. She was truly a blessing.”

Click here to learn more about Emergency & Urgent Care at Children's Mercy.