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Minutes before she was to board a plane for a family trip to Colorado, Natalie Tarantur, CRNA, leapt into action and led lifesaving efforts for a man who lost consciousness following a cardiac event at O’Hare Airport.
Tarantur was preparing to board with her three young daughters when her husband pointed out that a man had collapsed and needed her help. “I wasn’t sure what was happening at first, but we got him on his back and immediately started CPR,” said Tarantur, who had the help of two other passengers.
Relying on her years of training, Tarantur took the lead directing other passengers to call 911, and retrieve the AED. “His pulse was very faint and he was grey and unresponsive,” she recalled.
Tarantur administered three shocks as the AED directed and she and the other helpful passersby continued to perform chest compressions with Tarantur counting and supporting the man’s airway until the Chicago Fire Department paramedics arrived.
“Natalie was a true leader, taking control and assisting everyone on the scene,” said Chicago Heartsave Program leaders Lourdes Rodriguez and Ellen Demertsidis. “Some people are beacons of light in a dark moment, and this was one of those moments. Thanks to Natalie Tarantur and the others this man is alive today.”
After Tarantur and her family boarded the plane one of the EMT staff called her to the front of the plane to let her know that the man had regained consciousness. She was told later by one of the man’s traveling companions that he reportedly had 80% blockage, but after two stents were placed he was alive and well.
Tarantur said it almost felt like a training video come to life. “It came naturally, I am used to being the person at the head of the bed, it’s what I do for work every day,” she added. “I’m so thankful for my training.” A 2012 graduate of NorthShore’s School of Anesthesia, Tarantur has practiced at each of the legacy hospitals and is now the Lead CRNA at Highland Park Hospital.
As they boarded the plane, Tarantur’s husband told her he saw multiple passengers Googling CPR training, a hopeful reminder that CPR training and AEDs can save lives.