TRIPLER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Hawaii - En route to his own recognition ceremony for helping save lives, an alert pediatric healthcare specialist and two of his colleagues are credited with saving a man's life by intervening during the initial stages of a heart attack Jan. 25.
The fast action of Spc. Warren Frazier, Renee Araujo and Sheila Robinson-Bird is a big reason Navy veteran Calvin Cavaness is still alive, according to the on-call emergency room physician.
"It was a great call by the three of them in a very critical situation," Dr. William Enslow said. "Had they allowed him to leave the area like he intended, he likely would not have survived."
While at the bus stop in front of the hospital's mountain-side entrance, Cavaness began quietly showing symptoms of a heart attack. He and his wife had just filled a prescription here and were heading home.
Frazier and Araujo were on their way to the hospital's Blood Donor Center awards ceremony recognizing Frazier for his dedicated blood donation to critical patients here in addition to injured servicemembers overseas supporting the global war on terror. The two noticed a red-faced Cavaness slumped over sitting on the bench.
"We thought he was tying his shoe at first, but the more we observed him, we knew something was drastically wrong," Araujo said. "Had he gotten on that bus, he would have died."
As a normal flow of people in and out of the hospital walked by, Frazier and Araujo quickly decided the man needed immediate help. Though he initially refused, a third colleague who had just arrived on-scene, Robinson-Bird, demanded he go to the emergency room.
A short time later, Cavaness' heart stopped beating while being treated by the emergency room staff, who were quickly able to revive the patient.
"This man was given another chance to live by their quick decision to help him instead of letting him get on the bus," said the trio's supervisor Barbara LeBlanc, Pediatrics Clinic Head Nurse. "I'm so proud of them."
"Their prompt intervention probably saved his life," added Col. Art Wallace, deputy commander for Nursing here.
Frazier, at a loss for words describing why he became involved initially when there were many other passers-by, said he tries to look out for people, especially children and the elderly.
"There was no other option but to intervene," he said. "We recognized he was in trouble, and had to act. I'm just happy he survived."
Cavaness is recovering in the intensive care unit, where doctors are closely monitoring his recovery. "I am so appreciative of them," Cavaness said of the three pediatric specialists in a muted tone from his bed. "They're heroes to me."
The three were formally recognized by the command for their quick, decisive action. They received the Tripler Nursing Star, which is an internal recognition program to honor healthcare specialists for going above and beyond normal duties.