I Saved A Life

Anneka Ward is the Camp nurse for this upcoming summer of 2013. She began working at the camp in 2005 and has worked here for the past four summers. She is also one of the twenty-two trained lifeguards that we have on staff. The following was written by Anneka in 2011.

Two summers ago I competed in the Timberman Half Ironman Triathlon in New Hampshire, where I swam for 1.2 miles, biked for 56 miles and ran for 13.1 miles. I was excited to train for a long race before starting a two year nursing program at Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing. This past summer my father and sister decided to take it a little easier and do the Timberman Sprint Triathlon. The Sprint entails swimming for 1.2, biking for 56 and running for 13.1.

At the swim start, there were a five-minute intervals between each wave. I was the second female out of the water, first in my age group, and wound up passing a bunch of men in the 49 -59 year-old age group. (I also passed my father during the swim portion only to be passed by him later during the biking portion.)

Once we were biking I noticed that one of the men was playing loud music as he rode by me. About five minutes later, I saw him fall off his bike only ten feet in front of me. I immediately stopped my bike and ran over to him. Luckily, another athlete stopped and happened to be a trained EMT. Another girl from my age group stopped, as well. The race course was on a residential road, and luckily the accident happened in front of a house, because the residents came outside and offered their phone. The EMT was a local participant so he was able to tell his close colleagues to hurry over.

The man was laying down with his face turned to his right side. He had a laceration on his forehead and a pool of blood around his mouth. He was unconscious and struggling to breathe. We took off his race band, turned off his music, and attempted to find out his name and identity. Unfortunately, he did not have a Road ID or any form of identification on him. The EMT decided to turn the man over on to his back, while stabilizing his head and neck to allow him to breathe better. When we checked the man’s pulse, it was very faint. A few seconds later, we lost his pulse. The EMT asked if anyone knew CPR. I said “Yes!” and immediately went to work, while the EMT stabilized the man's head. Within five chest compressions the man started to breathe again. The man required 4 rounds of CPR until the EMS arrived.

The EMS team used a laryngeal mask airway to provide oxygen and started to set up the AED. They shocked the man 3 times before placing him on the gurney and taking him to the hospital. My sister had caught up to me at this point (she was in a later wave), and encouraged me to finish the race. I followed her and completed the bike and the run.

After crossing the finish line, I gave my report to the medical tent and the race director. They reassured me that they would keep me updated on the patient’s status. He was transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital once he was in stable condition. Happily, the patient is doing well and survived the trauma. He does not remember anything that happened, but is thankful for everyone’s help. I am also reminded to always carry ID with me- even during a race! I will continue to act when I see someone in need. You never know, but it might just save someone’s life.