Nurses and public safety officers save heart attack victim

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 8, 2022

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GROSSE POINTE CITY — An ordinary Saturday lunchtime at Panera in the Village turned into a medical rescue after a patron suddenly collapsed.

Grosse Pointe City Police Detective Michael Narduzzi said police got the call about an older man experiencing an apparent heart attack at Panera at around 11:41 a.m. May 14.

Nurse practitioner Dominique Delcourt and registered nurse Jacqueline Chait were working next door at the CVS MinuteClinic when a Panera customer raced inside the clinic, seeking their aid. Chait said the customer told her that another Panera customer needed emergency medical attention and possibly CPR. Chait immediately packed up the clinic’s automated external defibrillator and alerted Delcourt, and the pair leapt into action.

“We grabbed our equipment and ran over there and got started,” Delcourt said.

Delcourt and Chait began administering CPR to the man and used the AED in their efforts to revive him.

In the meantime, someone else at Panera had called 911, which quickly brought a team of Grosse Pointe City public safety officers and a nearby ambulance to the scene.

A police report states that the victim — a 75-year-old Grosse Pointe Farms man — wasn’t breathing and had no pulse when officers arrived.

Officer Andrew Prueter, the first officer to arrive, began assisting the nurses with CPR, as they took turns working on the victim.

“They did a great job,” Delcourt said of the officers. “They were very professional. They stayed calm. They were there whenever we needed.”

Delcourt, who formerly worked in a hospital emergency room in Detroit, said that although she and Chait had only worked together one other time and neither had ever worked with the public safety officers or emergency medical professionals before, “you would never have known,” because they all coordinated so well.

Police said the victim seemed to have experienced the severe type of heart attack known as “the widow-maker,” but thanks to the combined efforts of everyone on the scene, the victim had a heart rhythm by the time he arrived at Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe.

“I’m incredibly proud of our fantastic clinical care team who works together quickly and seamlessly even under the most stressful situations,” MinuteClinic Area Director Natalie Lickteig said by email. “MinuteClinic’s goal is to be a community resource for health care, and we’re grateful our clinic was top of mind in this emergency … there is no greater reward for our providers than being able to save a life.”

During a May 16 Grosse Pointe City Council meeting, Grosse Pointe City Public Safety Director John Alcorn said he was “very proud of those guys.”

Mayor Sheila Tomkowiak concurred, saying that it was “great to hear” about the rapid response.

“It’s amazing how things work,” Delcourt said. “I guess God wanted us all to be there that day.”

Delcourt said this incident underscores the importance of having AEDs readily available and taking advantage of opportunities to learn how to perform CPR and use an AED.

“Don’t be afraid to learn it and try to help someone,” Delcourt said.

Chait agreed.

“If people are in situations where they see an emergency and are trained (to respond), I encourage people to step in and help,” Chait said.

At press time, Alcorn said the man who had suffered the heart attack was “not out of the woods yet,” but the rapid response from the nurses and Prueter gave him the best shot at recovery he could have. Because of medical privacy laws, it wasn’t known at press time whether or not the victim had been able to leave the hospital and return home.

“I’m very grateful that we were able to assist. That’s truly what we’re about at MinuteClinic,” Chait said. “We’re all about helping the community.”

Alcorn said Lt. Thomas Martindale had already written recommendations for Prueter and the CVS MinuteClinic nurses to receive 2022 awards for lifesaving. Those awards are usually presented as part of the annual public safety report, so recipients won’t be decided or announced until next year.