Years of training aid in saving a life

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Xavier Lockley
  • 927th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, FL (July 10, 2018)Two months ago in San Antonio, Texas, Maj. Sinead Healey and her family were headed to their local department store when a routine trip, nearly turned tragic.

“My family and I were riding through the parking lot when I noticed an older woman and her daughter heading back to their car, they had a close parking spot to the store entrance,” said Healey, 927th Aeromedical Staging Squadron assistant chief nurse. “We waited for them to vacate the parking space and soon after they got near their vehicle, that’s when the action took place.”

Unbeknownst to Healey and her family, their patience in waiting for a parking spot would soon turn out to be a call to action. Before the woman could enter her vehicle, she slipped and fell in what looked to be a normal accidental fall to the ground, but after a few seconds the woman wasn’t getting up. Healey immediately raced to check on the lady and quickly noticed a change in the woman’s skin color as she began to turn blue, and her breathing began to get shorter. In response, Healey instantly began
CPR and instructed bystanders to contact emergency transport.

Fortunately, she was able to resuscitate the patient and keep the situation under control until paramedics arrived.

“I just happened to be at the right place at the right time,” said Healey. “Prior to this happening, I had taken a refresher CPR course so it’s nice that I was able to apply the skills from that to keep this woman alive.”

For Healey, this was real life application to what she’d previously been taught. According to studies done by the American Heart Association,
about 90 percent of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest die.

“On television it looks like close to 100 percent of the time people are saved due to CPR,” Healey said. “Reality is, when you work in the medical field, you understand that the success rate is much lower than what you see on TV and keeping that in mind it makes me glad that I’ve had extensive training in CPR to understand what I need to do in order to help resuscitate someone.”

Training has a lot to do with success in any realm, but specifically for Healey she has served as a nurse in both the civilian sector and military since 2003.

“The training that I received over the years has been invaluable to my career and especially in this most recent case,” Healey said. “Without that training over the years, who knows what would’ve happened to this woman, so you never know when you’ll need that skill but it’s useful to have them even when not on duty.”

After paramedics arrived, they took over where Healey left off and began checking the vitals of the woman, meanwhile the daughter of the woman came to thank Healey for the work she’d done prior to the arrival of the medical team.  

Although she assisted in saving a life, Major Healey insists that she was reacting instinctively.

“I was merely just doing what I was trained to do,” Healey said. “Luckily I was able to resuscitate this woman and get her stabilized. It’s just a true testament to the training I’ve received over the years.”