A routine shopping trip in Alexandria turned into more than that for Vidalia native Stephen Wells and his family last October.
Stephen and his two children were walking out of Best Buy in Alexandria when Stephen noticed two people attempting to assist a man lying on the parking lot of a MacArthur Drive shopping center in Alexandria.
Wells has been a registered nurse in the Rapides Medical Center Intensive Care Unit since last July.
"There was a man, who I found out later was a state trooper, with his son and they were trying to assist a man who was lying down on the pavement," Wells said. "The two had found the man crouched over his steering wheel and pulled him out. The state trooper had called 911. I went running across the lot and told my kids to get against the truck and not move. I asked the man if the man laying down had a pulse and he said he couldn't tell. I knew, based off my training, to check his body temperature and he was scorching hot. I knew we needed some cool water to help cool him down. The manager of Best Buy came out and asked what we needed?"
Wells told the manager to bring some cool water and began CPR.
"He brought ice cold water bottles, so I put one under his arm pit and others around his neck. You don't put ice cold water on them because it could put them in shock. I instructed the State Trooper and the son to tilt his neck and showed them how to use an ambu bag because when the crash cart on wheels arrived with the first medic on scene, the patient's 02 Saturation was at 52 percent and his lips were blue. We hooked up the pads in case we needed it. I started an IV and found his blood pressure to be 52 over 30 and his pulse 170. He didn't have a pulse for a second, but we were able to get him back and his numbers improving. I turned my attention to helping the EMT and started a large bore IV to bolus fluids until the rest of the First Responders arrived. I told them what we had done and they took over. They put him on a ventilator and took him on to Cabrini Hospital. I didn't tell anybody about it. But later someone at Cabrina contacted Rapides and my director asked me about it and why I didn't say anything. I was just in the right place at the right time."
Wells, who graduated from Vidalia High in 2010, and now resides with his wife, Kendra, and two children in Pineville, attended Northwestern State and spent five years as an LPN while going to nursing school.
Rapides Regional Medical ICU manager Curtis Hilton expressed pride in Wells' action.
"Many nurses spend time imagining what he or she would do if a situation presented itself like this," Hilton said. "Stephen was heroic on that hot summer day in a store parking lot. He sprang into action without hesitation and put his knowledge and compassion on display, living up to what we all hope we can be. His knowledge, compassion and humility were instrumental in saving a young man’s life. These are the qualities and actions that exemplify what it truly means to be a nurse. I couldn’t be more proud of Stephen for his life-saving efforts and look forward to the great things he will bring to the Medical ICU team and to Rapides Regional Medical Center. He is not only an amazing asset to this hospital, but also to our community.”
Wells was nominated for the DAISY Award, which was created in 1999 that now has 4,000 healthcare facilities and schools of nursing in all 50 states and 25 other countries, committed to honoring nurses for their extraordinary compassionate care.
Wells, who works the night shift, was honored last November at Rapides Regional with he and his wife's family members on hand, as well as Rapides employees.
He was presented with a small sculpture, a bouquet of daisies and a gift certificate to Walk-Ons.
"The sculpture has a special meaning because every one of those is made different," Wells said. "They make them every day, and they are a symbol of healing and good works. But I have to admit I really liked the Walk-Ons certificate best."