In the game of basketball, quick decisions can mean the difference between a win or a loss. At a recent community-based league, a VA nurse made a decisive move to help save the life of a fellow athlete.
Kelvin Allen, Army Veteran and licensed practical nurse at Central Virginia VA, had finished a game and was watching the next game to see who his team would be playing in the championship. Allen heard a commotion and a referee blowing a whistle, stopping the action. A crowd quickly formed around a man on the gym floor.
Kelvin Allen (right) and Craig Gerow
Instincts to assist in a medical capacity kicked in
“I really didn’t feel nervous or anything. I think my adrenaline kicked in and I was in a zone,” said Allen, who immediately took control and began performing CPR on the man. “My main thought was, please don’t die on me.”
Allen directed someone to fetch a nearby automated external defibrillator (AED). The man, Craig Gerow, soon regained consciousness. His heartbeat lasted less than a minute before stopping again. Allen began administering CPR again for several more minutes until Gerow regained consciousness.
Emergency services soon arrived and transported Gerow to a nearby hospital for continued care. The next day, Allen received a text message from Gerow.
Credits action to CPR training
“I wanted to thank you for saving my life Thursday night,” he said. “Jim said you were so calm and just took over the situation.”
Allen, who works in the Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders service at Central Virginia VA, credits his actions to training he received while on the job. The training is Basic Life Support and is mandatory for all employees at VA who have clinical credentials and privileges. The training is performed in a simulation setting.
“After this experience, the first thing I did at work the next day was go up to that CPR mannequin and gave it a hug,” Allen said.