On St. Patrick's Day, a man suffered a heart attack on the tram at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and was saved by his fellow passengers. Former ER tech and volunteer firefighter, Tara Fitzgerald, who was heading home from Rocky Mountain University in Utah where she’s studying to get her master of physician assistant degree, was one of the passengers to come to the man’s aid.
The 29-year-old medical student was riding the tram to meet her parents at baggage claim when she saw a crowd gathering around the man. "I kind of went right into EMS mode and knew what to do," she says. After assessing the man’s condition, she instructed another bystander to call 911, had another try to get the tram to stop, and then she started CPR.
A moment later, another passenger handed Fitzgerald an automated external defibrillator (AED) from the airport. "We gave him a shock and ended up doing one more round of CPR, and he started breathing on his own," Fitzgerald recalls. Then firefighters arrived and transported the man to a nearby hospital and Fitzgerald continued on to meet her parents. Fitzgerald believes that the AED is the reason the man survived and the whole experience has served to confirm that she’s on the right path with her life.