Colleagues Save N.M Postal Worker With CPR
When a postal worker's heart stopped beating Tuesday, plenty of hands were willing to help keep her blood circulating. "I guess you could call it a team effort," said Lonnie Sanchez, a supervisor at the Pacheco Street post office where the incident occurred.
And it goes to show how important it is for people to learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), said Santa Fe Police Officer Joe LeBlanc.
"It's not very hard to learn," he said.
The woman, who has been working with the post office for about 25 years, wasn't conscious or breathing after she collapsed around 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Carrier Anthony Martinez and supervisor Wayne Redmon started CPR, while co-workers called 911, Sanchez said in a news conference at Santa Fe Police headquarters Friday.
Officer LeBlanc was nearby, saw people running into the building and followed them to see how he could help.
The officer said he saw the woman, who is in her 50s, on the ground. He said she was not moving and her skin was turning gray. It didn't look good.
"I've seen my share of dead and dying," said LeBlanc, a nine-year employee of the department.
He put on gloves and began chest compressions, keeping them up while calling the woman's name for about eight minutes. The Journal was unable to reach the woman's family and decided not to give her name without checking with them.
On Friday, Sanchez said the woman was mostly breathing on her own and tests have not shown brain damage, an assessment confirmed by police. LeBlanc, who said the woman may have had a heart attack, said she was in an intensive care unit and had a medically-induced coma.
Sanchez said he thinks she is going to pull through.
LeBlanc said performing CPR for extended periods of time is hard work, but it's one of the reasons he goes to the gym.
"Fitness is part of the job, in my opinion," LeBlanc said.
He said medical workers continued to work on the woman, trying to get a pulse, before putting her on a gurney to the hospital. LeBlanc said he thinks the whole ordeal lasted about 24 minutes. LeBlanc wanted to credit the fire and medical workers who worked "unbelievably" hard on the woman.
"Without them, who knows what would have happened," he said.
Assistant Fire Chief Eric Litzenberg could not be reached for comment Friday.
LeBlanc encouraged people to take CPR and first aid classes. He said it's too common that people tell emergency dispatchers that they can't do CPR.
Class schedules for CPR and first aid training can be found online at the Red Cross' website (www.redcross.org) and on the American Heart Association's website (www.heart.org).
Copyright 2013 - Albuquerque Journal, N.M.