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St. Elizabeth nurses act quickly to save woman who collapsed at restaurant

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Posted at 11:12 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 23:13:10-05

CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. — At St. Elizabeth Healthcare, one sign explains it all: "Life is why we train." While health care workers are accustomed to using CPR on the job, three nurses' training was put to the test when they noticed a woman in need while out to eat.

Jami Sears and Lee Ann Burk were at a Crestview Hills restaurant Nov. 2 when they witnessed Tenderly Pruett collapse. Immediately, the two women — joined by nurse manager Tracei Schack — started doing what they know best.

"There's so much adrenaline, you just jump in and start doing things," Sears said. "You don't even remember where those things came from, they're just there."

They quickly determined Pruett was not breathing and was without a pulse.

"In the hospital, when you have emergency, you call a code and you have a whole team that comes in," Burk said.

"Everything we need is there," Sears said. "[For this] it's just kinda like all we had was us."

The three women rotated rounds of compressions, keeping her alive until paramedics arrived on scene. While helping Pruett, the nurses were able to call her daughter Natasha Burns on her phone because she was listed a contact in the "Emergency SOS" settings.

Burns has been at her mother's side as she recovers at St. Elizabeth Edgewood Hospital, saying she knows her mom might not still be here if not for the nurses who happened to be in the right place at the right time.

The quick thinking made navigating the crisis a little easier.

"I mean if it wold have been two minutes later, Lee Ann and I were walking out the door," Sears said.

Burns said her mother continues to get better every day.

"I'm very grateful for everything that everyone's done so she can be here today," Burns said. "Being able to hear her voice again, which I never thought I was going to be able to, was the most amazing thing."

Weeks after the incident, Burns was able to meet with the crew who helped save her mom, thanking them for everything they did.

"It's a great feeling and is one of the reasons I became a nurse," Schack said.

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