Right place, right time: off-the-clock CPR
It was a sweltering Tuesday morning in July.
Katherine Hendricks, outpatient oncology charge nurse at UCHealth Memorial Hospital North, planned to take advantage of her day off work.
In an effort to beat the heat, Hendricks took her 5-year-old husky, Pippa, to the mountains, where it’s cooler. After enjoying a hike in Green Mountain Falls, they ventured to Woodland Park for lunch.
They visited Memorial Park, where they walked around the pond and Pippa took a dip in the water. Hendricks found a shady spot on a nearby bench, taking a load off from her busy morning.
Several people were out and about, enjoying the day, including a woman under an adjacent gazebo.
Out of the corner of her eye, Hendricks noticed the woman collapse, falling straight to the ground on the concrete.
Hendricks thought to herself, people don’t just pass out like that. In a split second, she threw Pippa’s leash and ran towards the woman.
Hendricks didn’t notice any obvious signs of trauma, but the woman, who appeared in her 70s, was out of it. She started mumbling and then suddenly went quiet.
Hendricks’ CPR training kicked in. She searched for a pulse and when she couldn’t find one, she began performing CPR. Another passerby called 911.
Hendricks was doing compressions for one minute before a park officer took over and notified authorities on his radio.
Within a couple minutes, paramedics were at the scene. Hendricks confirmed she was no longer needed and retreated to her car.
Still buzzing from her experience, Hendricks and Pippa waited in the car, with the woman still in sight. Within a half hour, paramedics had the woman alert and sitting up right.
“I was shaken but grateful that it seemed to turn out okay,” said Hendricks.
Hendricks has performed CPR before but always in a hospital setting.
“It catches you off guard regardless, but when you’re just moseying in a park, you don’t expect to have to perform CPR,” Hendricks said.
Hendricks wasn’t the only passerby to notice the woman collapse and run toward her. Four other people followed suit, offering to help.
“It felt good to see people doing the right thing, at the drop of a hat,” Hendricks said. “It restored my faith knowing there’s other good people out there. Because multiple people came running.”