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Friday, February 6, 2004

Acts of caring saved a dad's life


Your voice: Bridget Nurre

As an aspiring journalist, I have learned all too well that scandals and exposes make good news. But, if a historian in the distant future were to describe our culture based only on newspapers and news broadcasts, he would deem it savage and entirely negative. For this reason, I would like to focus on a specific act of good that has had a large impact on my life.

On Jan. 10, my dad decided to bypass his usual routine of Saturday side jobs to take my younger sister and me to see the Vatican exhibit at Union Terminal. While there, my dad suddenly collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. Though he is in good shape and relatively young, he has already been through two heart valve replacement surgeries and the installation of a pacemaker. I was soon screaming these facts to anyone who would listen to me.

Before I even had the time to finish a sentence, a swarm of people had gathered to help my dad. A nurse by the name of Nnika Hays began to perform CPR on him immediately, while her friend Nancy set to the task of consoling my sister and me. These two women jumped to the aid of perfect strangers without hesitation. Meanwhile, the security guards at Union Terminal brought a defibrillator for Nnika to use and cleared people out of the way for the ambulance personnel to come through.

Later that day, the doctors told my sister and I that our father had survived 1-in-10 chances. My mind flooded with every possibility of how this situation could have been worse, but as our minister later pointed out to my dad, none of these mattered because there was only one way it could have gone right: the way it had.

In June of 2002, President Bush signed into effect the Community Access to Emergency Devices Act, which not only encouraged public places to have an automated external defibrillator, but also appropriated $30 million in federal grants for their purchase and the training of men such as those security professionals who responded in my dad's emergency. This act and these security guards were a huge part of my dad's survival.

My dad is also here today thanks to two women who were not afraid to avoid the bystander effect and jumped in without a hesitation.

As Anne Frank once said during her time of trial: "In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart."

Bridget Nurre of Hyde Park, a graduate of St. Ursula Academy, is a freshman at George Washington University, majoring in journalism and minoring in political science.

Want your voice to be heard? Send your column or proposed topic to assistant editorial editor Ray Cooklis at rcooklis@enquirer.com; (513) 768-8525.



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