Marisol Flynn was at Costco to buy cases of water for a couple of fundraisers, including this one at CareOne being held to support breast cancer research, when she heard the cries for help.
Marisol Flynn, CRT, wasn’t thinking about saving a life when she went to her local Costco on Jan. 19. She was thinking about water – cases of it for two fundraisers, one being held by her son’s 7th grade class and the other by her employer, Care One in Wayne, NJ.
But when she got in line to pay, she heard people calling out for a doctor or a nurse. “As I approached the commotion, I saw the man lying on his back,” recalls the AARC member. “Unresponsive, not breathing, and no pulse.” After experiencing a moment of panic, she knew what she had to do, and she did it.
“I was the only health care provider there at that moment. With confidence I knew I had to do CPR.”
Springing Into Action
Flynn said she simply went back to the A-B-C’s she learned in her BLS course. “Unlike a hospital setting there is no technology available or all hands on deck,” she says. “Quick response to perform CPR is key.”
A female employee of the store – who Flynn later learned was a store supervisor – stayed right by her side the entire time. “She was on point at all my requests,” says the RT. “Performed chest compressions like a trooper when shown proper placement on his chest.” That gave her a break and also allowed her to set up the store’s automated external defibrillator (AED) in case it was needed.
The AED didn’t indicate the need for a shock, so Flynn and her helper continued CPR until the Wayne police arrived with an oxygen tank and a manual resuscitator. At that point, the man had a weak pulse but his breathing was agonal. “I then took over with the head-tilt/chin-lift technique and gave manual breaths using the resuscitator connected to oxygen,” she says.
Cheers Rang Out Through the Store
The paramedics arrived shortly thereafter, put him on their monitor, and placed an IV. When the crowd that had assembled around the man saw he was once again breathing, cheers rang out through the store. “Team work!” says Flynn.
Flynn emphasizes that what she did at Costco that day was no different than what any RT would do in a similar situation and she certainly never expected to be lauded for her efforts. But when she mentioned the experience to a dietician colleague the next day at work, word quickly got around, and soon she was being featured in an article in the local newspaper and receiving kudos from family, friends, and colleagues.
As for the man she saved, a local radio station is working to identify him and arrange for a reunion, but in the meantime, Flynn just wants him to know he’s in her thoughts. “My blessings to him and his family.”