A Cry Goes Out, and Nurses Save the Day

A Cry Goes Out, and Nurses Save the Day

"'I could see this guy turning blue,'' Alex Santos said, recalling with Patricia Rogers, one of his fellow rescuers, how he helped save a man at North Station. (BILL BRETT FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE)

Stewart BIshop / Boston Globe

February 27, 2009

When a North Andover man collapsed in the waiting area of the North Station commuter rail service, help was nearly instantaneous.

In the middle of the crowded station Wednesday at about 7 p.m., the man cried out, then slumped over on a bench. Three bystanders – a student nurse, a registered nurse, and an emergency room technician – rushed to his aid while a transit police officer ran to get a defibrillator, similar to ones being installed on all commuter trains.

Their quick action and use of the defibrillator worked.

“It was frightening; it all happened so quickly,” said one of the rescuers, Patricia Rogers, a student nurse who spoke at a press conference at North Station yesterday afternoon.

“The first thing I noticed was his wedding ring,” Rogers said. “It struck me; I knew we had to help this man.”

She said she had never before used such a device, called an automated external defibrillator. “My training at MGH certainly helped, but it was so nice to have a team there, to have support,” Rogers said.

John P. Hogan Jr., the director of Safety and Security for Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail Co., said the widespread availability of the AEDs throughout the commuter rail system will continue to save lives. “Certainly in this case it worked,” he said. “The AED is very user friendly. Truly anyone can use this device.”

The 53-year-old man, whose family requested anonymity, was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was listed in good condition yesterday. He had suffered a cardiac arrest, Transit Police Lieutenant Robert Lenehan said at the press conference.

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