Selfless decision by four women saves the life of grateful Alexandria man
[June 6, 2021: Kristyn Hartman]
For some people, being in the right place at the right time is a matter of live and death. In the case of one man on Alexandria Pike in Cold Spring, that situation played itself out literally.
“There are no words, but a few items of appreciation,” said Alexandria, Kentucky, resident Dennis King. “They can tell the story because I don’t remember the story.”
The story, for him, nearly ended on the afternoon of March 30.
King relies on Marissa Iles, Lauren Works, Rhiannon Feltner and Sydney Reinhardt to tell the story of how they saved his life. The four strangers share something in common: they care for a living. Those four women were the ones in a sea of drivers who stopped.
“I was like, ‘Why did I just go this way? I never go this way,’” Reinhardt, who is a former Mercy Health ED tech, said. “Just so happened when I turned out on 27 there was traffic. I’m like, ‘What is happening? Why is everyone sitting here?’”
It was a right place-right time situation.
“I noticed this girl in front of me and she went up to the first car in line and shook the driver of the car,” said Marissa Iles, who is a St. Elizabeth Healthcare nurse. “I rolled my window down: ‘Hey, do you need help with something? Everything okay?’ And she’s like, ‘No, he’s not responding.’”
So right there on the busy road, Iles got out of her car and joined the first woman, who dialed 911 and prayed. Then they were joined by another Good Samaritan.
“We kinda met at the car,” Mercy Health nurse Rhiannon Feltner said. “And she’s like, ‘I’m a nurse.’ ‘I’m a nurse too. Check for a pulse.’ And so she did, and that’s when we realized he didn’t have one.”
They got to work giving King emergency care as Works pulled up to the scene.
“I look down and see my best friend, Marissa, which is crazy,” St. Elizabeth Healthcare nurse Lauren Works said. “So yeah, I just kind of hopped into the rotation of CPR.”
Reinhardt keeps an emergency bag in her car just in case of situations like these, so she had mouth protection that allowed for breaths with all the chest compressions.
“It was about ten minutes before the ambulance arrived, so we did compressions and CPR for ten minutes,” Feltner said.
That time spent by the three nurses kept King’s heart beating and oxygen flowing to his brain, which helped him survive his heart attack.
“They took action,” King said. “They didn’t wait around – didn’t panic and together they saved my life. No doubt about that.”
At St. Elizabeth, doctors stented him to clear blockage of his heart. Then, later, he received more stents at Christ Hospital, where his wife, Terri, is, of all things: a cardiac care nurse.
She, along with King’s daughters, Jessica and Abby, joined together at the Health Collaborative to celebrate the nurses who kept Dennis King alive.
“It was a life-changer in our world,” Terri King said. “It gave Dennis a second chance. It gave our family a second chance.”
In the weeks since King’s heart attack, he celebrated an anniversary and a graduation – and as he continues cardiac rehab, he’s making sure to savor every moment.
“I could have missed them,” he said.
The selfless choices of four women that afternoon gave King the gift of life.
“I would do it again in a heartbeat to save someone,” Reinhardt said.
As another serendipitous slant to this story, years ago, when Reinhardt was in nursing school, she actually worked with Terri King. Another example of a small world leading to big events.
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