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Alumna Taps into CPR Skills to Save a Stranger’s Life

By Jenna Pizzi

Lindsay Hummel, center, used life-saving CPR to save the life of a stranger.After an exciting day at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., celebrating her graduation from medical school this past spring, Lindsay Hummel BI’13, DPM, was relaxing with her dad and friends back at the hotel when she heard commotion in the lobby and saw a man bent over on the floor. 

“I ran down to see if I could help and the man was having trouble breathing,” said Dr. Hummel, who recently graduated from Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine. “He said I could help him so I got him comfortable on his back on the floor.”

Immediately, Dr. Hummel said her CPR training, which she learned while pursuing her minor in exercise science and wellness management at USciences, kicked in.  She grabbed the automated external defibrillator (AED) from the hotel staff and got to work.

“I don’t remember consciously thinking about it, it was just that I knew what to do,” she said. “There was a nurse and a surgical technician helping too. We were doing CPR, and shocked him three times until the EMS arrived.”

Although the man whom she was helping was a stranger, she eventually learned his name, Stephen Kirsch, and that he had suffered major cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation, the most serious cardiac rhythm disturbance, according to the American Heart Association. Lastly, Dr. Hummel learned that he had survived the ordeal because of her swift response.

About a week and a half later, Dr. Hummel received a Facebook notification. It was a comment on a photo she had posted from her day in Disney from Kirsch thanking her for her life saving intervention.

“The last thing that I remember before losing consciousness was a clear, confident voice saying ‘I am a doctor. I’m going to begin performing CPR.’ That voice was Dr. Hummel’s,” Kirsch wrote. “When I came to, I was in the back of an ambulance on the way to the emergency room. The next day, quadruple bypass surgery was performed and a defibrillator was installed. The cardiologists at the Orlando Regional Medical Center have confirmed to me that without the immediate and professional intervention by Dr. Hummel, the positive outcome that I have experienced would not have been possible. So thank you, Dr. Lindsay Hummel, for saving my life. My family and I are eternally grateful!”

Dr. Hummel, who graduated with a degree in biology, credits Karin Richards PhD’17, chair of USciences’ department of kinesiology, for giving her some of the best CPR training classes she has received when she was an undergraduate student.

“Her hands on approach was so helpful, you don’t get that with a regular CPR class. And some of her tips really stuck with me when I needed them the most,” said Dr. Hummel.

Dr. Richards said she is extremely proud of Dr. Hummel, not only for her career accomplishments, but also for her ability to step in to help a stranger in need.

“She was able to use the lessons we taught her here at USciences and help to save a life,” said Dr. Richards. “We keep our classes small to deliver individual attention for healthcare skills such as in our CPR/AED and First Aid Class.”

Kirsch has recovered from the event and Dr. Hummel said the two still try to keep in touch on Facebook

“I’ve heard from at least 20 of his family and friends who have thanked me and told me how grateful they are,” she said. “That was pretty cool."

Categories: News, Alumni, Misher College, Department of Biology, Biology, Samson College, Department of Kinesiology, Exercise Science and Wellness Management