Nurse saves cardiac arrest victim in spin class

Heather Fleming, a 34-year-old intensive care nurse, was in a morning spin class when a fellow spinner collapsed and appeared to go into cardiac arrest

By Sean Horgan
Gloucester Daily Times

GLOUCESTER, Mass. — It's always nice to have a nurse around when you need one, especially if it's one of the three nurses from the Fleming family of Gloucester.

It could save your life.

On Wednesday, Heather Fleming, a 34-year-old intensive care nurse at Beverly Hospital, was in a morning spin class at the Manchester Athletic Club in Manchester when a fellow spinner collapsed and appeared to go into cardiac arrest.

"It was near the end, the last song of the class," Fleming said Wednesday afternoon. "The person in front of me just kind of fell off his bike."

According to witnesses, Fleming, one of three registered nurses in her immediate family, swung into action, immediately going to the assistance of the fallen man along with other classmates. The man, she said, was not moving and she couldn't find a pulse.

Fleming started CPR and yelled for someone to call 911 and someone else to get the automated external defibrillator the health club has on hand for just such emergencies. She turned the CPR duties over to another class member, fired up the defibrillator and shocked the victim back into regular rhythm.

"A minute or so later, we had a pulse and he started moving," Fleming said of the victim whose name was withheld for medical privacy reasons. "Then he woke up."

But she wasn't done there. She also called her colleagues in the intensive care unit at Beverly Hospital to alert them them to the man's impending arrival.

"She acted incredibly swiftly under very difficult conditions," said Andrew Hankinson, an assistant general manager at the club who was on duty at the time of the incident. "Her speed and her training were critical to making sure the situation had a positive outcome."

Hankinson said emergency medical personnel from the town also responded rapidly, arriving at the club "less than five minutes" following the 911 call.

According to Manchester police, the rescue squad was dispatched to the health club at 10:25 a.m.

Heather Fleming comes from a proud nursing family.

Her mother, Brenda Fleming, also is an RN at Beverly Hospital, and her younger sister, Lindsay Fleming, is an emergency room RN at Addison Gilbert Hospital.

"Among the Fleming nurses, she's probably the quietest," Lindsay Fleming said. "She probably won't want a big deal made about this, but when you're a nurse and you save someone's life outside of work, that's a big deal."

Copyright 2018 Gloucester Daily Times

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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