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Quick-Thinking St. Luke’s Employees Respond to Patients Needing Help

By Chereen Langrill, News and Community
April 6, 2017
Andrea McCarron with fiance Garth Blackburn.

Assisting a Woman in Distress

Being quick to respond to someone in a medical emergency or distress is part of the job for those who work in health care. But a medical issue can happen anywhere at any time. It might not be during work hours or fall within someone’s typical line of duty.  Some St. Luke’s employees were recently recognized for their quick thinking and commitment to caring for others – regardless of the circumstances.

Andrea McCarron works at St. Luke’s Magic Valley, where she is a registered nurse and nursing supervisor for labor and delivery. McCarron was watching her fiancé perform in a musical at the College of Southern Idaho’s Fine Arts Center when a woman in the audience slumped over in her chair and people around her raced for help.

The music stopped and the director announced that the show had to stop because of a medical emergency. McCarron climbed over people in their seats to reach the woman who needed help. She helped stabilize the woman before paramedics arrived.

St. Luke's COO Chris Roth recently recognized Stephanie Shaltz for helping a confused patient.

Calming a Confused Patient

Lab technician Stephanie Shaltz had worked for St. Luke’s Wood River less than two months when she assisted a confused patient at the hospital.

Shaltz is attending nursing school at the College of Southern Idaho and doing her prerequisites at St. Luke’s Wood River.

One morning, as Shaltz was arriving for work, she noticed a man near the service elevator at the hospital. His clothing – shorts and a sweater – wasn’t appropriate for the cold weather, and that caused Shaltz to be concerned about his safety. She approached the man and engaged him in conversation, while calling St. Luke’s security and preventing him from walking out an exit. Soon security arrived and the man was returned safely to his room. 

St. Luke's president and CEO Dr. David Pate recently recognized Elizabeth Obregon for helping a man during a medical emergency.

Stabilizing a Man During a Seizure

Elizabeth Obregon, a medical assistant at St. Luke’s Orthopedics in Meridian, was shopping at a Boise store when a man near her had a seizure and fell.

Obregon asked an employee to call 911 and immediately turned the man on his side and checked his pulse. As the seizure subsided the man still couldn’t speak, so Obregon devised a way to communicate with him by eye-blinking. She also helped him remain conscious by asking him questions. She remained by his side until firefighters and paramedics arrived.

Finding Fast Help for a Heart Attack Victim

In early March St. Luke’s administrative assistant Vicky Prouty was walking a new employee to the Anderson Center when she noticed someone who seemed to be struggling in the Pedestrian Plaza. Prouty rushed to the man’s side and asked if she could help.

“I could see this man was hunched over,” Prouty said. “I just knew he was in trouble.”

Prouty helped him sit down on a bench in the plaza, and then she ran into the hospital where she asked someone at the information desk to call an emergency response team right away.  She then returned to the man’s side and stayed with him until help arrived.

She talked with him while they waited for help, and she learned he had walked to the hospital from 8th Street, where he had just finished an 8-hour shift at a restaurant. When help arrived she connected with him again because she could see he was scared.

“I said, ‘you made it this far. You are going to be OK,’” she recalled.

Prouty later learned that the man had a heart attack and that he received treatment in the catheterization lab.

Prouty has worked at St. Luke’s for 10 years, and her role is strictly non-clinical. But on that day in March, her instincts told her that man needed her help.  

“I looked at him, and he looked at me, and we just had a moment,” she said.

Giving Comfort to a Homeless Man

Cami Caudill is a registered nurse who works in the St. Luke’s Nampa medical imaging department and helps in the emergency department during down times.

On a cold, rainy day in March, Caudill had the opportunity to speak with a homeless patient. Deeply saddened by his situation, she was motivated to help. The hungry patient was embarrassed to be dirty and was wearing pants held together by a bungee cord. Caudill heated up her lunch and gave it to him.

Before he was discharged from the emergency department, she went to the store and used her own money to buy him socks, an umbrella and personal hygiene items. Nampa ED nurses Jason Novak, Jason Bybee and Megan Painter and other staff quickly jumped in with other resources. Co-worker Caleb Cordell donated a belt, hat and gloves. Shari Peterson, Nampa health coordinator, provided scrub pants. Working together, they arranged for the patient to shower and shave in the ED, and security guard Ralph Gallagher lined up a taxi voucher. Teresa Hall, senior director of nursing and patient care, said that Caudill ensured that the patient received his antibiotics through the hospital’s prescription program, so he would have the care that he needed.

“She went above and beyond for that patient,” Hall said.

Caudill is proud of the entire team.

“It is not just one person. It was a group effort,” she said. 

About The Author

Chereen Langrill was formerly a communications coordinator for St. Luke’s Health System.

Related Facility

St. Luke's Magic Valley Medical Center
801 Pole Line Road W.
Twin Falls, ID 83301
(208) 814-1000

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St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center
Street Address: 100 Hospital Dr.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 100
Ketchum, ID 83340
(208) 727-8800

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St. Luke's Boise Medical Center
190 E. Bannock St.
Boise, ID 83712
(208) 381-2222

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St. Luke's Nampa Medical Center
9850 W. St. Luke's Drive
Nampa, ID 83687
(208) 505-2000