LCRH nurse uses CPR to save a life in Louisville Derby miniMarathon

Carla Slavey I CJ

Vickie Stricklin Loze, a Somerset resident and a Quality Support Analyst and Educator with LCRH, was in Louisville to assist and cheer on her daughter and coworkers during a marathon when one of the participants fell due to cardiac arrest. She and others preformed CPR on the man to save his life.

"It was a good day. That's how I see it," Vickie Stricklin Loze said. "When somebody lives, it was a good day."

That day was April 27, the week before the Kentucky Derby, when Vickie went with several of her Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital coworkers to the Derby Festival Marathon held in Louisville. Vickie was there to assist others as they took part in the marathon and half-marathon races.

While she is a nurse with extensive training in methods like CPR, she had no way of knowing that she would be using her skills to save a life at the marathon.

According to a report from Louisville station WLKY, a 42-year-old runner named David Foy was competing in the miniMarathon, a half-marathon held in conjunction with the full marathon.

He was within 100 yards of the finish line when he began to feel ill.

WLKY quotes Foy as saying, "I really was short of breath. I kind of got really dizzy."

A few seconds later, he went into cardiac arrest.

Vickie, who was standing on the sidelines waiting for her daughter, Sunda Hansford, to finish the race, saw Foy fall.

"This gentleman looked like he staggered a little bit, and he was trying to grab something. He went down with his arms to his sides, so I knew that was something was wrong. You don't fall unless you try to catch yourself."

Vickie, a Quality Support Analyst and Educator with LCRH, has worked many years as a nurse, holding many positions within the hospital.

She began her career in 1977, and has worked in departments like pediatrics, the emergency room, and open heart surgery in the operating room.

She's known how to perform CPR for more than 40 years, and when she saw the stranger fall in the middle of the road, she knew she had to get to him.

"I tried to lift the big cattle guards they put up, and ours was rusted," she said. She started yelling for people to help her get over the barricade, and between race officials and others she was pulled across.

Not with minor injury to herself, she said. More than two weeks after the event, she still has bruises on her legs from where she was pulled.

Vickie and another woman - a race official - rolled the man over onto his back and began to look for signs of life. Neither could find a pulse. Vickie said she started clearing the man's mouth of blood, because the injuries he sustained when he fell were causing his mouth to fill up.

She did a round of 30 compressions, then began mouth-to-mouth breathing for him - without a mask or protective barrier.

"It's not recommended to do that," she admitted.

"I'm from the old school, and that's what we did. We did what we had to do. And I figured if the Lord puts me in the right place at the right time, He'll watch out for me."

When EMS workers arrived and took over, Vickie was handed an oxygen mask and bag, and she began using that.

After two defibrillator shocks and a shot of epinephrine, the man came to and started fluttering his eyes.

When Vickie's role was finished and the emergency workers were loading the man into an ambulance, Vickie said she "just sort of moved away," staying out the way to prevent confusion.

Other bystanders then started checking on her to make sure she was okay.

She said some saw that she was trying to wipe the blood off her face and hands, and they began handing her water bottles, tissues and wipes to help her.

Despite knowing the stranger was awake when they put him in the ambulance, Vickie said she didn't know how he would fare, only that she knew he was being taken care of by professionals.

From Foy's point of view, WLKY reported that he awoke to "a whole crew of people over me asking me questions."

He had to have open heart surgery to have one of his aortic valves replace.

While recovering at home, Foy spoke to a reporter in an effort to reach out and contact the people who helped him.

"I just want them to know how important they are, how much they mean to me and my family," he said.

That news report made it's way to Vickie's daughter, Hansford, who called her mother Wednesday night to tell her.

As of Thursday, Vickie said she had not spoken with Foy, but that her daughter has been in contact with the news station.

"I'm just glad he didn't die right there. A couple of minutes without someone helping him and he would have. There would have been no bringing him back. I didn't think we were going to initially anyway," she said.

Because of that, she said she would encourage everyone to learn CPR. "Because you don't know what somebody's going to do next to you."

In fact, even though she has performed CPR several times in her role as a nurse, it's not her first time doing CPR as a bystander.

"I did it on a coworker once. Every year she sends me a rose for every year she's been alive."