Tammie Badarak, a nurse at Vidant Health, scans in a patients medicine while working on the floor at the hospital on Tuesday. (Rhett Butler/The Daily Reflector)
“God had me in the right place at the right time.”
By Michael Abramowitz
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happened on the flight home from her vacation last week is causing a buzz among a Greenville nurse’s colleagues.
Tammy Badarak, a registered nurse on staff at Vidant Medical Center, was asleep in her airline seat last Wednesday, returning from a visit to Las Vegas. She was awakened by an announcement from a flight attendant that a medical emergency had occurred in the galley requiring the help of a doctor or nurse.
“I don’t remember, but the man on the aisle seat next to me told me I grabbed my shoes, leaped over him and ran to the galley,” Badarak said.
At the rear of the plane, Badarak saw a woman she learned was a Japanese tourist slumped in a seat in the last row, unconscious and unresponsive. Badarak was one of three nurses who responded, but with no doctor there, Badarak, a 28-year veteran nurse, took charge of the scene, not knowing how much of a difference she could make.
“As soon as you say, ‘I’m a nurse,’ people get out of your way because the average Joe wants to help, but doesn’t have the knowledge,” Badarak said. “I’m a nurse 24/7, and God had me in the right place at the right time.”
She checked the woman’s breathing and searched for a pulse, which was barely detectable, she said.
“I remember once seeing a training dramatization video at work,” Badarak said. “In it, one person with a patient turns to another and says, ‘You, go get the AED (an automatic external defibrillator used to electrically stimulate a normal heart rhythm). Well, there I was, in real life, telling the same thing to a steward.”
Modern defibrillators detect and report with a computer-generated voice whether a patient is experiencing a deadly rhythm that requires an electrical shock. Unable to manually stimulate any response from her patient, Badarak, who is trained to use the defibrillator, had the woman placed on the floor where she could more easily be treated. While connecting the electrodes to the woman’s chest, she assessed the situation and asked if anyone had seen what might have happened. Another nurse, who had been sitting across the aisle from the unconscious woman, told Badarak she saw her have a seizure and vomit.
Badarak straddled the woman and, paddles in hand, waited for the device to announce clearance to send an electrical pulse through the woman’s body.
“As I was clearing everyone away from the immediate area, I noticed I was sitting in a pool of the woman’s bodily fluids,” Badarak said. “This woman was a stranger to me, but I had to continue on and do all I could. I just said, ‘OK God, this is on you. You gotta protect me.’”
As she prepared to deliver the shock, the device “spoke,” saying, “No shock indicated,” Badarak said.
The nurse could see on the machine’s display that there was just enough of a pulse being generated by the woman’s heart to avoid the need for a shock.
Badarak remained with the woman and provided ongoing care, recognizing that she still was in serious condition and barely breathing. She handed a clipboard to a flight attendant and directed him to record everything she dictated about the patient’s treatment and changing condition.
Someone handed Badarak a bag aboard all airliners, filled with provisions only a trained medical professional would be able to use. She helped start two IV lines to inject fluids that could elevate the woman’s blood pressure and send blood to her vital organs.
She directed someone to notify the airline captain that the plane needed to land as soon as possible, and asked another flight attendant to try and locate a blood sugar monitor. A monitor was found and those numbers checked out normal.
The pilot informed Badarak that the flight would have to continue on to its destination, Washington, D.C., so she continued to administer care during the rest of the flight. The patient’s vital signs showed some improvement, but she did not regain consciousness during the flight. When the plane landed in Washington, Badarak’s patient was alive. Paramedics rushed on board and took the woman to an area hospital.
“I haven’t heard anything further about the woman’s condition or outcome. I’m just so thankful I was there with other guardian angels,” Badarak said.
Back at work this week at Vidant’s 1-South wing, Badarak’s colleagues beamed with pride and kidded her about the attention.
“Tammie is a spectacular nurse, always on her ‘A-game,’ Jessica Owens, RN, said. “She’s got such a big heart, she’s there when you need her and is a great asset to Vidant. I’m very proud of her and what she’s done.”
Contact Michael Abramowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-329-9571.
via The Daily Reflector.