June 23 will be a memorable day in the lives of one woman and her loved ones. That was the day that Jacinda, a Franklin VNA & Hospice nurse, went shopping for a new dress on her day off and instead found herself responding to a medical emergency at the Gilford TJ Maxx.
“I was looking at clothes when I thought I heard a faint voice say to call 911! I thought, did I really hear that?” recalls Jacinda. When she looked over to the side of the store, she clearly knew something was going on. “When I looked over, I noticed panic with the staff! I went over and told them I was a nurse and asked what was going on. I thought maybe someone had fallen in the bathroom and it was the sight of blood. But then, the staff reported it is a drug overdose, she is in the bathroom, she is not breathing!”
The fast acting staff called 911 while Jacinda went in to assess the situation. The Registered Nurse found a young woman on the floor with no pulse and no breathing, the contents of her purse strewn all around her. When she asked how long the woman had been like this, the boyfriend wasn’t sure. When she never came out of the bathroom, he had finally gone to check on her. Her boyfriend was sure she had overdosed.
Heedless of any dangers to herself, Jacinda began chest compressions and instructed the boyfriend on how to do rescue breaths. “Does anyone have Narcan? Ask in the store, put it on the overhead. Someone must,” she remembers saying. There was no AED available, and no one else had responded to help. Jacinda was on her own. She kept providing chest compressions, circulating blood to the woman’s brain, crucial to any hope of her surviving.
Finally recovering from his shock, the boyfriend said the woman had Narcan in her car. He just needed to find the car keys. Narcan found, Jacinda continued compressions while the boyfriend administered the Narcan, but nothing happened. “I still don’t know what she took, or how much, but I was surprised when we administered the Narcan, she didn’t wake up.”
By the time additional first responders were there, the woman had regained a pulse and was taken to the hospital. “I felt like as a nurse it was my duty to respond,” said Jacinda.
“Those are the kinds of nurses we need,” says Tabitha Dowd, Executive Director at Franklin VNA & Hospice. “On the clock or off, we are part of these communities through thick and thin, and we stand with the community members during this addiction crisis.”