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    Life-Saving Effort by Navy Nurse Recognized by Washington State Ferry

    Life-Saving Effort by Navy Nurse Recognized by Washington State Ferry

    Photo By Douglas Stutz | Life-Saving recognition...Lt. Cmdr. Erika Schilling, Naval Hospital Bremerton nurse...... read more read more

    A Navy midwife routinely brings a new life into the world. They also on occasion save a life already here.

    Such was the case for Lt. Cmdr. Erika Schilling, Naval Hospital Bremerton nurse midwife.

    Schilling was traveling on the Washington State Ferry Kingston-Edmunds route when she overheard another passenger frantically comment that immediate medical attention was needed. A man had slumped over and appeared to be not breathing. Schilling instantly took command of the situation and provided emergency cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for 14 minutes to save the man’s life.

    Washington State Ferries awarded Schilling with the Life Ring Award certificate in recognition of her life saving efforts on December 2, 2017.

    The Life Ring Award is traditionally presented to Washington State Ferry employees, but Washington State Department of Transportation and Washington State Ferries leadership determined that Schilling also deserved such recognition. The award was established to recognize such individuals who responds to life and death emergencies or rescues.

    “We are honored to present this in recognition of her heroic, lifesaving effort. In this case, it was very phenomenal,” said Doug Stough, Washington State Ferry interim port captain.

    Schilling credits her Navy training – 21 years of combined Navy Nurse Corps and hospital corpsman with Fleet Marine Force qualification experience - for her immediate response to the emergency

    “I just happened to be there and heard that help was needed. I heard her on the phone saying, this is an emergency. My ears went up,” said Schilling, who had just spent that fateful day at the Heritage Museum in Everett with her two sons, Kevin, age 7, and Conner, age 5, before boarding the ferry for the return trip home.

    The man’s heart had stopped. Schilling maneuvered him from seat to floor, instructed another passenger to tell the ferry crew, who showed quickly at the scene with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

    Schilling then started performing CPR, aided for part of that time by another with Basic Life Support (CPR and AED) skills.

    “We did two minutes on, two minutes off. It was tiring. I was sweating afterwards. My arms and upper body felt like I’d been through one of the hardest workouts I’d ever done,” Schilling related.

    MD Solutions International also presented Schilling with their Outstanding Responder (to) Sudden Cardiac Arrest certificate, in recognition for her awareness, courage and compassion in response to a victim of cardiac arrest.

    “I respond to emergencies. It’s what I do. I was able to be the first responder there,” explained Schilling.

    Once the ferry docked at Kingston, an emergency medical technician team came aboard the vessel to take over and transport the man to Harrison Medical Center, Bremerton. Yet despite handing her patient off, Schilling determined that her efforts were not over. The couple were from Spokane and not familiar with the area. Schilling took it upon herself to lead the wife from the ferry to the hospital.

    “All that way there, all during the 45 minute drive, it was stressful. Did I do enough? Was he going to make it,” related Schilling.

    The man did survive and is currently recovering back home in Spokane. Schilling even spoke to him recently to see how he was doing.

    Coincidentally, the man from Spokane was saved on a ferry with the same name as his home of residence. By a Navy Nurse Corps officer who also coincidentally can be addressed as ‘doctor,’ due to earning her Doctorate Degree, as well as her FMF pin. The correlation there adds up to a life-saving twist of fate, and one with a happy ending.



    Date Taken: 01.18.2018
    Date Posted: 01.19.2018 15:58
    Story ID: 262609
    Location: BREMERTON, WA, US

    Web Views: 614
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