A few coincidences plus the training of three University of Southern Mississippi students helped save a woman’s life.
Zach Jones, Jessica Ringo and Nicki Jackson were heading out from their hotel to the football field Oct. 24 to prepare for the USM/Charlotte game.
As part of their practicum requirements, the three athletic training students had to help out at the game.
“Every away football game, students are designated to set up the medical equipment,” Jones said. “It was a requirement. We had to be up around 5 (a.m.) and we were headed to the lobby.”
But the elevator wasn’t working, so the three walked down from the 11th floor to the first floor, only to realize too late the lobby was on the third floor.
As they doubled-back to go upstairs, the three looked down an exterior hallway and spied a woman on the concrete.
“(She) was just laying next to the street,” he said. “We asked her if she was OK and she was unresponsive.”
Ringo joined Jones as he knelt by the woman’s side.
“Zach and I did a preliminary check of her vitals,” Ringo said. “She was unconscious, in her 20s to 30s. We took her pulse and it was 40 (beats per minute) and very weak.”
Jones said the woman appeared to be in bad shape.
“Jessica and I saw she was foaming at the mouth and seizing,” he said. “You’re supposed to let the seizure run its course and then we rolled her over to keep her from aspirating.
“Her breathing was 12 breaths per minute. That’s very low.”
Jackson, meanwhile, was trying to dial 911 on her cellphone. The call kept dropping, so she headed for the lobby.
“I checked the elevator again and it was working. That was the only time the elevator worked, because the paramedics said they had to take the stairs,” she said.
Jones said when the paramedics arrived, they gave the three a good review.
“They said we had done a good job of assessing the situation and we had probably saved her life,” he said. “She very well could have passed away.”
Jones said the paramedics did find something the trio had missed.
“After they examined her, they looked around and found a bottle that had a substance in it,” he said. “They got her to wake up and she had regained consciousness, but she was highly unaware of where she was.”
Ringo said the paramedics told them if they hadn’t seen the woman there was no telling what could have happened.
“It was God’s plan for us to go to the first floor,” she said.
Ringo said the three got their training by taking a required emergency medical response class. All three are certified emergency medical responders, but Ringo said none of them had ever tested their skills in a real-life scenario.
“Instinct just kind of takes over,” she said. “Adrenalin kicks in and you remember what you’re supposed to do.
“Now I think I’m good in an (emergency) situation.”
Christopher Brown, instructor for the group’s Athletic Training and Emergency Care class, said the three performed admirably.
“You never know how someone is going to react, but I was pretty proud of them,” he said. “I think they did everything they were supposed to do.
“I think they did a perfect evaluation of the situation.”
Jackson feels good about how the three responded.
“We did what we were taught to do,” she said. “I think we handled it well.”
“Our athletic training prepared us extremely well,” he said. “There was no thinking, there was just acting.”
Jones said the group felt like they were part of something bigger than themselves.
“It’s really good to know you can protect someone’s life,” he said.