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While vacationing at a Rhode Island beach this summer, Lauren Fisher, RN, performed CPR and used an automated external defibrillator to help save a man’s life. She is the second NP 15 staff member to save a life outside of work this year. 

Beach rescue marks second off-duty save this year for NP 15 staff

It was a perfect summer day in Narrangansett, RI, and Lauren Fisher and her family were enjoying the last day of their vacation.

“We were relaxing on the beach when I heard someone yell, ‘Call 911! Call 911!’ I stood up and saw a man in the water on his back,” said Fisher, RN, a nurse on the Surgical Oncology unit (NP 15). “He was far away, but I could tell he didn’t look good.”

Fisher ran over as people pulled the man from the water. The man was pale and non-responsive, and neither Fisher nor another beachgoer, an EMT in training, could find a pulse. Fisher started CPR and told the lifeguard to get the AED (automated external defibrillator). Fisher and the EMT trainee, along with the man’s son, switched off performing CPR until the AED arrived. Fisher attached the pads to the man and listened for a prompt from the device.

“I could barely hear the AED because the waves were crashing, but I did hear the ‘shock needed’ prompt,” she said. 

After the shock, the three resumed CPR, until the patient began making noises. Fisher asked him to nod if he heard her. He did. She asked him to squeeze her hand, and he did.

“That felt amazing,” she said.  

A second check with the AED indicated the man did not need another shock, so the rescuers stayed with him until the ambulance arrived and the EMTs took over.

“When they took the man’s pulse, I saw that it was 101,” Fisher said. “I just lost it.”

The EMTs later returned to the beach to let her know the patient was in a nearby hospital having a stent placed. They thanked her for starting CPR so quickly, which saved the man’s life. 

Fisher’s story is remarkable on its own, but she’s not the first NP 15 staff member to save a life outside the hospital this year. This past spring, PCA Jade Saliba performed CPR on a man who had collapsed at her gym.

“I remember talking to Jade after that and asking a bunch of questions,” Fisher said. “I was amazed at what she did.”

A nurse for two years, Fisher has been trained and re-certified in CPR a number of times, but she’s never had to use it before. In addition to her CPR training, Fisher said her experience dealing with emergencies on a fast-paced nursing unit helped her stay calm in the midst of the drama at the beach.

“I went back to the beach a few weeks later and realized how scary that whole situation was,” she said. “I’m just so thankful things went the way they did.”