Valuable lesson in CPR saves subway rider’s life

When presented new information, students often do not know its relevance or value to be gained from learning the lesson well. For Bay Ridge resident Vivian Tran, a senior at Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing (PBISN) in New York City, a “Mock Code” class, whichsimulated a patient’s cardiac arrest in a hospital proved to be a real life-saving experience.

Tran was in the 36th Street N/R subway stationat Fourth Avenue and reviewing for an exam with headphones on while waiting for her train when she heard a loud noise and headed towards the commotion. “I saw a crowd of people and two feet sticking out from behind a pole,” she recalled. “A train conductor who had witnessed the incident yelled, ‘Does anyone know CPR?’ At that very moment, I went into automatic mode and yelled back, ‘I do! I know CPR!’ and at the same time, I yelled for the conductor to call 911 immediately.”

The Mock Code program was designed by Irene Rempel, RN, while doing her clinical experience as a graduate student at Pace University’s Leinhard School of Nursing under the supervision of PBISN Dean Janet Mackin, RN, EdD, who was her preceptor.

The Mock Code is practiced in the school’s Skills Lab, overseen by coordinator Tina Heinz, RN, an expert in critical care. Thirteen student nurses were in Tran’s group.

That fortuitous Saturday morning, Tran’s Mock Code lab skills were to be tested for real. As soon as she reached the unconscious man, she took his pulse with one hand and shook him with the other but got no response. Initial measures failing, she asked the train operator to assist in opening up his clothing.

Tran continued to monitor his respiration and pulse until EMS arrived a few minutes later. She immediately reported the events and interventions that she used and his vitals from beginning to end. She stayed with them a few more minutes to answer questions, then picked up her bag and papers off the ground, and proceeded on her way to work.

For the rest of the day, she had an adrenaline high. “I walked away with a great feeling. I realized that all through the entire incident I felt calm and cool as a cucumber. I realized how all that education and training has paid off,” she said.