“He just didn’t look right.”
That’s what Crouse Hospital registered nurse Sharon Martin thought when she noticed Dave Noce, 65, seated across from her at a Liverpool restaurant on March 21. Martin and fellow Crouse colleague Cheryl Pitman were just getting ready to eat when Martin saw Noce, who was sweating profusely, tilt his head forward. With her nursing instincts kicking in, Martin approached Noce, who at this point had risen and fallen back onto a stool, unresponsive and beginning to go into seizures.
Chris Callahan, a co-worker of Pitman’s, helped ease Noce to the floor. Both Martin and Pitman, a supervisor in Crouse’s Information Technology department and a former respiratory therapist, immediately began performing CPR on Noce, whose heart had stopped beating. 911 was called and paramedics arrived shortly thereafter and took over the care of Noce, who had regained consciousness. His first words were, “I want to go to Crouse.”
The next day, Martin and Pitman stopped by Noce’s room at Crouse to check on his condition – and formally introduce themselves. “These are my angels,” says Noce. “If not for them, I would not be here right now.”
Here, in her words, is Pitman’s account of what happened that night:
“All I can say is I now remember why I got into healthcare. I’ve been out of respiratory care for six years and this was the first CPR I’ve done since then, but it was pure instinct that kicked in. It was awesome to have a nurse by my side. Sharon was the first to notice he was having difficulty. We both got up to go check on him as his wife and others were talking about getting him home. We quickly realized he was pale, diaphoretic and not responding, although his eyes were open. He deteriorated quickly after that so, with Chris’s help, we lowered him to the floor and started checking for a pulse as he became cyanotic, and started showing seizure activity. I yelled for someone to call 911 and get an AED and started chest compressions. Sharon was trying to open his airway, which was difficult due to his clenched jaw, so I just kept doing compressions. She was able to get a breath into his nose and another into his mouth. Soon he opened his mouth and took a big gasp of breath. I stopped compressions and checked for a pulse, which was now bounding! We were all very happy to see that, and kept telling him he was doing a good job. He then turned his head and kissed Sharon on the knee. Shortly thereafter, emergency response arrived and took over. It was an awesome outcome to an otherwise bleak outlook. I’m sure Sharon and I agree that we are not heroes; we were just doing our job. We were in the right place at the right time.”
Pictured: Sharon Martin, RN, (left) and Cheryl Pitman visit with Crouse patient Dave Noce on March 22, a day after he collapsed at a Liverpool restaurant.