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Mercy nurse saves jogger's life

“The nurse in me knows there is a powerful message to share.”

Matt-Erika-(1-of-1).jpgThis is why Erika Nielsen Sieber, RN, is speaking out about the events that unfolded on Wednesday, November 8—a day she will never forget. It started out like any ordinary day on the Telemetry/Progressive Care Unit where Erika works as a registered nurse at Mercy Hospital’s State Street campus. She did some managerial tasks, and then did something she doesn’t typically do—she left the unit to participate in an interview at the Fore River Campus. “It is a rarity I ever go to that campus. By rare I mean once or twice per year,” she said. Initially, Erika was going to take the shuttle bus between the two campuses, but decided to take her car instead. That was another choice that steered her toward a fateful encounter that would change her life forever and the life of another. 

Erika was walking to her car along Spring Street and talking to her husband on her cell phone when a woman driving a car started frantically waving at her and pointing down the street. “This caught my attention,” she recalled. “I looked up and immediately saw a man down on the ground on the sidewalk with two women standing over him. I told my husband I had to go and ran up to the scene.”

As Erika approached, she noticed the man lying on the ground had greyish looking skin, wasn’t breathing, and had blood on his face. Two women were standing over him. “Did anybody see him fall?” Erika asked as she checked for a pulse and then began CPR.

At this same time, Matthew Magill, a security guard at Mercy Hospital, was approached by a woman. “She told me a man fell up the street and that a nurse was doing CPR and asking for help,” Matt recalled. He ran to help. Erika was doing compressions when he arrived and offered to assist. Erika let Matt take over administering CPR so she could explain the situation to an EMS crew that had just arrived on scene. “I looked into the eyes of this man. I can’t quite express the emotions I was feeling, but it was overwhelming, to say the least,” she recalled as she watched the EMS workers do their amazing work to save this man’s life. “They put the pads on him and immediately I heard, ‘shock advised.’ I thought, wow, this guy has a shockable rhythm! This is a good thing; I thought, maybe this guy has a chance,” she explained.

The EMS crew took the man to the hospital and Erika continued on her way to Mercy’s Fore River Campus. She couldn’t help but wonder if the man survived. The next day, the EMS workers tracked Erika down and told her the good news that the man had made it through!  

The man, who wishes only to be identified as John, his wife, and their nine-year-old son asked to meet Erika after hearing what she had done. She gladly accepted the invitation. She was in disbelief when she saw him. “I was overwhelmed with emotion and amazement that I was talking to this man that had come so close to death just four days prior. We talked for about an hour, realizing how incredibly miraculous and magical this life can be. It was truly awesome to meet this family!”

John, who is 42, is an avid runner. He had been out for a jog that day but decided to veer from his usual route around the Old Port to get a “hill run” in around Mercy. “I’ll never have enough opportunities to thank Erika, Matt, and everyone else who saved my life that day,” said John. “They’ve given me the greatest gift—more  time on this earth with my son and wife.”

Matt was glad that he was able to play a role. “It just goes to show that as healthcare employees, our compassion, service, and desire to help others doesn't stop at the property lines of Mercy. It truly does extend out into the community. I won't forget this situation anytime soon—it’s a great feeling.”

Erika believes that there was a reason she was there that day. “No matter what your personal beliefs may be, something miraculous happened for this man and his family, and for that I’m thankful beyond words,” she said. She encourages everyone to learn how to perform CPR because in this case, it was the difference between life and death for a man who was lucky that Erika happened to be walking down the street when he needed her.

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