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DiversityNursing Blog

Hero nurse protects newborn from tornado in Moore, Oklahoma

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, May 24, 2013 @ 01:21 PM

 By Morgan Whitaker

As a massive tornado swept through the Oklahoma City area Monday afternoon, Moore Medical Center stood directly in the path of destruction.

The building was pulverized by the 200 mph winds, sending patients and staffers scrambling to safety zones located in the center of the hospital. Miraculously, all the staff, patients and families survived the storm.

That includes nurse Cheryl Stoepker, who used her own body to protect a newborn she’d delivered barely an hour earlier. When she heard news of the approaching twister, she wheeled the newborn and his mother down to the cafeteria, a windowless room on the first floor of the hospital.

“It was dark, that was the first thing that told us something was happening,” she toldPoliticsNation on Tuesday. “We could hear the hail hitting the building even though we were on the first floor and it’s a two-story [building],” she explained.

“So we at that point got down on the floor, patient and myself, took her baby, put him in laps, and we hugged, and we started praying,” she said. “The baby was a little over an hour old, didn’t even have a diaper yet at that point, but mom and I held the baby and prayed and made it through.”

When the storm passed, Stoepker and her patient were forced to climb out in the darkness, navigating around debris as she tried to push the new mother and her child out in a wheelchair. They made their way out alongside one of her colleagues, herself 33-weeks pregnant, and pushing yet another infant and mother who’d just given birth. Eventually the wreckage was impossible to wheel through, and her patient, with only a few minutes of recovery from labor, walked–barefoot–out of the building.

Only 24 hours later, she’s still coming to terms with her experience. “It’s hard to describe and I’m still trying to deal with it and figure out what happened,” she said. As Rev. Sharpton said, this hero who saves lives and cares for people everyday in ordinary circumstances was able to keep a precious patient alive in extraordinary circumstances too.

Source: MSNBC 

Topics: tragedy, Oklahoma, hero, tornado, Cheryl Stoepker, Oklahoma City, nurse

Boston Nurses tell of bloody marathon aftermath

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 @ 03:29 PM

BOSTON (AP) — The screams and cries of bloody marathon bombing victims still haunt the
describe the imagenurses who treated them one week ago. They did their jobs as they were trained to do, putting their own fears in a box during their 12-hour shifts so they could better comfort their patients.

Only now are these nurses beginning to come to grips with what they endured — and are still enduring as they continue to care for survivors. They are angry, sad and tired.  A few confess they would have trouble caring for the surviving suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, if he were at their hospital and they were assigned his room.

And they are thankful. They tick off the list of their hospital colleagues for praise: from the security officers who guarded the doors to the ER crews who mopped up trails of blood. The doctors and — especially — the other nurses.

Nurses from Massachusetts General Hospital, which treated 22 of the 187 victims the first day, candidly recounted their experiences in interviews with The Associated Press. Here are their memories:


Megann Prevatt, ER nurse: "These patients were terrified. They were screaming. They were crying ... We had to fight back our own fears, hold their hands as we were wrapping their legs, hold their hands while we were putting IVs in and starting blood on them, just try to reassure them: 'We don't know what happened, but you're here. You're safe with us.' ... I didn't know if there were going to be more bombs exploding. I didn't know how many patients we'd be getting. All these thoughts are racing through your mind."


Adam Barrett, ICU nurse, shared the patient bedside with investigators searching for clues that might break the case. "It was kind of hard to hear somebody say, 'Don't wash that wound. You might wash evidence away.'" Barrett cleaned shrapnel and nails from the wounds of some victims, side by side with law enforcement investigators who wanted to examine wounds for blast patterns. The investigator's request took him aback at first. "I wasn't stopping to think, 'What could be in this wound that could give him a lead?'"


Jean Acquadra, ICU nurse, keeps herself going by thinking of her patients' progress. "The strength is seeing their faces, their smiles, knowing they're getting better. They may have lost a limb, but they're ready to go on with their lives. They want to live. I don't know how they have the strength, but that's my reward: Knowing they're getting better."

She is angry and doesn't think she could take care of Tsarnaev, who is a patient at another hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: "I don't have any words for him."


Christie Majocha, ICU nurse: "Even going home, I didn't get away from it," Majocha said. She is a resident of Watertown, the community paralyzed Friday by the search for the surviving suspect. She helped save the lives of maimed bombing victims on Monday. By week's end, she saw the terror come to her own neighborhood. The manhunt, she felt, was a search for justice, and was being carried out directly for the good of her patients.

"I knew these faces (of the victims). I knew what their families looked like. I saw their tears," she said. "I know those families who are so desperate to see this end."

On Friday night, she joined the throngs cheering the police officers and FBI agents, celebrating late into the night even though she had to return to the hospital at 7 a.m. the next day.

Source: Times Union

Topics: ER, tragedy, comfort, nurse, patients, Boston Marathon

Ireland Nugent lawn mower accident: 2-year-old saved by Palm Harbor nurse after legs severed

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Sat, Apr 20, 2013 @ 04:00 PM

By: Jacqueline Ingles, WFTS


Nicole Turner is calling her neighbor Aly Smith a miracle and a savior.

Smith, a nurse, came to the rescue of her 2-year-old daughter Ireland after her legs were severed in a tragic lawn mower accident Wednesday night.

"It was horrible," explained Smith.  "It's the scariest thing I have ever seen."

A labor and delivery nurse for nine years, Smith's training kicked in and got her through it.

Smith was sitting at home with her husband when she heard screams coming from outside.  Her husband ran outside first and she followed.  That's when she came face-to-face with a horrific scene.

"He kept saying, 'Her legs are gone, her legs are gone.'  And I said that can't be possible."

Jeremiah Nugent, 47, was swaddling his daughter whose legs were both severed below the ankle.  Just minutes before Nugent accidentally ran over his daughter with his riding lawn mower.

According to Ireland's mother Nicole, Ireland darted from the backyard into the front yard.  Then, when she saw her father, she ran to him and began calling out, 'Daddy, Daddy.'

Nugent never heard his little girl because the lawn mower drowned her out.

Nicole tried to flag her husband down to warn him.  Thinking he was about to hit something moving forward, he put the mower in reverse.

Ireland's mother watched the horrific accident.

"Why couldn't it have been me?" Nicole Nugent asked during a press conference at Tampa General Thursday afternoon.  "Why did it have to be her?"

Smith said she helped wrap the little girl in towels and put pressure on her legs to help stop the bleeding.  Smith was also comforting the little girl.

"She kept saying, 'I want to go to bed. I want my daddy and I want to go to bed,' anything to keep her talking," Smith explained.

Smith said she was surprised at how calm Ireland remained.  She stayed with the little girl while her mother called 911.  Fire crews responded and then Ireland was airlifted to Tampa General.

"It felt like an eternity," Smith said.

Ireland remain in the ICU tonight and is in serious condition.  Doctors said she will recover and will walk again.  And while Ireland's parents are thankful to Smith for all she did, she is remaining humble and said she was just doing what she was trained to do.

" I'll never forget it but it could have been a whole lot worse," she said.

Ireland has already undergone two surgeries, one to clean her wounds and a second to put a pin in her thumb.  Doctors initially thought her hand needed to be amputated but only her thumb was broken.

The Nugents say Ireland will undergo several more surgeries in the coming days.  She will also need skin grafts.

Steve Chamberland with 50legs visited Ireland in the hospital Thursday.  He arranged for Ireland to get fitted for prosthetics for free.  He says once doctors close her leg wounds Monday, she'll recover for four to six weeks before heading to Orlando.

He says they will fit her and she will be back on her feet the next day.

"To see a 2-year-old walk again, it's pretty much her first step and life," explained Chamberland.  "Her father was so funny.  He was ready to go.  He was like, 'Can we get legs now?'  He just wants to see her run again and be normal.

Source: WPTV

Topics: tragedy, nurse, lawn mower, 2 year old

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