Four Kansas City nurses save man having heart attack in Austrian cave

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Fantastic Four: That’s what Children’s Mercy is calling their nurses who jumped into action when a man had no pulse, lying in a cave while having a medical emergency in another country.

The four heroes said it was a team effort to save the man’s life.

Call it the right place at the right time. Four nurses who normally take care of patients at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City were on hand to save a man’s life while on vacation in Austria.

“Skydiving on vacation was fun,” the nurses said.

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From skydiving in Switzerland to saving a man’s life in a cave, you’d think these four nurses were superheroes.

“Nurse mode kicked in, and we ran,” nurse Meg Green said.

Green said they were in a remote ice cave on top of a mountain when a man collapsed.

“With my hand still on his neck, feeling for a pulse, I was screaming up at the girls that he didn’t have a pulse, and they were down there in seconds,” nurse Fallon Olf said.

Olf said strangers shined their phones and lanterns where they needed light and they got to work.

“We immediately were like, OK, one person’s got compressions, someone get his head, make sure his airway is not obstructed,” Rachel Offert said. “At the same time, everyone was crowding us, so we were trying to get people back, but there was also a language barrier.”

The four nurses took turns doing CPR, while a tour guide ran to get an AED.

“Being in those circumstances, in an ice cave at the very top of a mountain,” Green said, “the fact that they even had one was pretty incredible.”

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The team’s quick actions saved the man’s life.

Angelique Short called it second nature, jumping into action when someone is in need.

She said they were scheduled for an earlier tour but missed it, and circumstances led them to the tour with the man who needed them most.

“We were so proud of ourselves, and we really just felt in the depths of our hearts that it was just meant to be that we were there at that exact time in that group,” Short said.

“Even if we had been like four people behind in line, we would not have been with this man and this family. I don’t think he would have had that positive outcome that he did.”

They got him out of the cave to a helicopter where he was take to a local hospital.

“Had we not been there, it’s very likely that he might not be alive,” Olf said.

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The women kept in touch with the man’s daughter. She said he had a heart attack, but after surgery he’s recovering well.

“He can be someone’s father and grandfather for longer,” Fallon said. “And was that still a traumatic situation? Absolutely — for us, for them, yes. But the takeaway was that we got to be there to help them and that there was a positive outcome.”

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