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Instinct, CPR skills help PCA save a life outside of work 


The Hamden Fire Department recently honored Kelsey Snedeker, a patient care associate on the Transplant and Liver unit, for helping to save a man’s life outside the hospital.

The morning of Oct. 6, Kelsey Snedeker was driving down Dixwell Avenue in Hamden on her way to pick up a friend when she saw a man on the ground.

Snedeker, a patient care associate on Yale New Haven Hospital’s Transplantation and Liver Unit (WP-9), immediately pulled over and got out of her car. 

“It was just instinct for me to help,” she said. “I knew by the look of him that he needed CPR.”

At the same time, a woman wearing scrubs walked out of a nearby restaurant, saw what was happening and called 911. She and Snedeker quickly determined that they both knew CPR, checked the man’s pulse and started compressions. Snedeker and the woman, Maria Melton, took turns providing four rounds of CPR until paramedics arrived. 

“CPR is very tiring. I was glad she was there to help,” Snedeker said. “The first responders were guiding us over the phone, but we knew what to do.” 

Afterward, Snedeker thought the man could have been her father, who passed away in February.

“I was proud of what I did,” she said. “I knew that whether or not I helped save the man’s life, I had tried.”

Weeks later, Snedeker learned that the man had survived. On Nov. 17, the Hamden Fire Department presented her and Melton with an award for helping to administer lifesaving care. 

Snedeker hasn’t had to use her CPR training at work yet, but she is used to handling stressful situations on her unit. She wants to continue working with transplant patients after earning her nursing degree and becoming a case manager.

“A lot of our patients are very ill,” Snedeker said. “It can be challenging to care for them, but I love it.”