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Outpatient nurses go all in to save man’s life

July 3, 2024 | Reading Time: 2 minutes
Group of Outpatient Medical nurses pose for a photo

Life-and-death medical emergencies are rare in the outpatient world.

But when that once-in-a-blue-moon moment happened recently on the 6th floor of Huntsville Hospital’s Blackwell Medical Tower, the Outpatient Medical Services clinic team was ready.

An older male patient had come in for a blood transfusion on April 13th, a Saturday morning. He was checking in for the procedure when he lost consciousness, falling backward and hitting his head on the lobby floor.

Christina Corker, RN, rushed to the man’s side and checked his pulse.


The staff called 911. But knowing it might be too late if they waited for paramedics to arrive, Corker and fellow RN April Bass started chest compressions on the patient while another nurse, Jessica Schoenfeld, grabbed the office’s automated external defibrillator (AED).

Thankfully, it only took one jolt from the machine to get the man’s heart beating again. Nurse Schoenfeld also used an Ambu bag to provide respiratory support.

Outpatient Medical Clinic Weekend Charge Nurse Steffanie Jones helped direct the lifesaving response, and RN Mary Paulin took detailed notes to help the doctors who would later care for the patient.

The rest of the clinic staff helped by clearing the lobby and keeping the other patients calm.

“You get out of the habit of responding to codes in the outpatient areas, but they did absolutely perfect,” said Gwenda Guerin, Diretor of Outpatient Services. “I’m amazed at how they were able to keep their cool and save this patient’s life.”

By the time Huntsville Fire & Rescue and HEMSI arrived, the patient was alert and talking. He was transported to the Emergency Department, which confirmed he had suffered a heart attack.

He is expected to make a full recovery.

 “It was a great display of everyone working together,” said Guerin.