Nurse Saves Colleague’s Life with CPR

Rina Yap, RN, BSN with Satya Prasad and wife

As a nurse for 33 years, Rina Yap, RN, BSN, was accustomed to all types of medical emergencies. But when she was called on to provide CPR to a colleague having a sudden cardiac arrest on the job, it was a new experience.

When Yap, who works nights caring for high-risk pregnancies and for postpartum mothers and their newborns, heard that the guard who was stationed outside the maternity unit door had fallen ill, she raced to find him lying on the floor not breathing. Not wasting a minute of precious time, she began chest compressions, a skill she had brushed up on in a CPR refresher course the day before.

“I tried to feel for a pulse, and I couldn’t find one,” said Yap. “My adrenaline rush was high, and my first instinct was to compress his chest.” The Code Team was called, and Yap knew that help was on the way as she continued the immediate lifesaving technique.

“I felt like this was the longest few minutes of my life. I don’t deal with this kind of emergency every day; it was like what they do in the Emergency Department,” she added.

Her heroic efforts gave Satya Prasad, a security guard at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health for 33 years, a chance at survival until the Code Team could take over. Today, Prasad is doing well after the May 12 event, taking care of himself with a heart-healthy diet and exercise, and has returned to work.

He expressed gratitude for what Yap and the Code Team did for him, although he doesn’t remember any of the events of that morning. “I came back from my break at 1 a.m., and I don’t remember anything else,” said Prasad. His first memory was waking up in the Intensive Care Unit two days later, after having surgery to implant a pacemaker.

Rina Yap, RN, BSN and Satya Prasad

Prasad’s wife, Maureen, also a longtime employee here, learned that Yap had helped her husband, along with lab employee Kristine Devi, who initially found him lying on the floor. Prasad personally thanked them with a card and a visit. “I’m so thankful and grateful to them,” said Prasad. “They did a wonderful job. I’m proud of the whole crew, including the ICU medical team, the Code Team, and the Emergency Department nurse who first cared for me. They all took great care of me.”

Prasad was initially taken to the Emergency Department at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and transferred to the ICU at Stanford Health Care. The health system devotes many resources to teaching lifesaving techniques, said Lynda Knight, MSN, RN, director of the Revive Initiative for Resuscitation Excellence.

“I’m really proud of our entire team,” said Knight, who trains the Code Teams. “They did an amazing job, and I’m so happy for Mr. Prasad. Not only did our team save his life, but he’s going to have a good quality of life because of the quick response of everyone.”

“Providing the lifesaving skills of CPR and early defibrillation quickly really improves outcomes,” she added. “For every minute that there isn’t any CPR performed, the survival rate decreases by 10%. CPR makes a difference because it gets blood moving to the heart and brain and improves survival but more importantly improves the neurological outcome, which will provide Mr. Prasad the quality of life he had before the cardiac arrest,” she explained.

Knight is passionate about sharing her knowledge of resuscitation and CPR, and she schedules training and refresher courses throughout the year for employees, including physicians and frontline nurses.

Knight also offers CPR training to the community, holding classes, and recently began working with the American Heart Association, which donated a CPR kiosk at SCH just like those in airports where friends and families can practice CPR skills. Since 2009, SCH has distributed CPR Anytime kits, self-instructional kits, to all families when they’re discharged; the kit trains them to call 911 when they find their child nonresponsive and begin applying the core skills of CPR. Since the program came to fruition, thousands of these kits have been provided to our families, free of charge, with the intention of training our communities in CPR and saving as many lives as possible.

Fortunately, working at Packard Children’s Hospital during his emergency made a difference for Prasad. He was near first responders and doctors like Elizabeth Dorwart, MD, the PICU fellow, and Jewel Sheehan, MD, the anesthesia fellow, working that morning.

“If you’re going to have a heart attack, have it at the hospital,” Prasad said with a smile. “Everyone should know CPR,” he added. “You never know when you need it and can save a life. If Rina Yap wasn’t there and didn’t know how to do CPR, I would’ve had a very different outcome.” Hopefully all of the CPR training that Stanford Medicine Children’s Health Revive gives to our providers and communities will promote these exact stories and outcomes anywhere.

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