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Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center Nurse Uses CPR Training to Save a Life on the Soccer Field

NurseCPRSoccerSamantha Endersbee, neuroscience ICU (NCISU) RN at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, was just like any other mother cheering her son’s soccer team on to victory until she noticed something was wrong with one of her son’s teammates.

“The boys played a great game and we were all celebrating, but then I saw Brandon Lopez collapse and my heart sank,” she said. “I gave it a few minutes and he didn’t move, so my nursing instinct kicked in and I climbed over the railing to help him.”

Lopez was unresponsive but still had a pulse when Endersbee reached him. Shortly after, Lopez’s pulse faded and she heard staff from the stadium preparing to administer a shock from the defibrillator. “My world completely stopped spinning at that point,” she said. “That could have been my son out there on the field. I had to do everything I could to save him.”

After one shock by the defibrillator, Endersbee administered two rounds of CPR and Lopez regained his pulse. She did not leave his side until EMS arrived.

Endersbee left a 10-year career in the oil and gas industry to become a nurse in the NSICU in January and had performed CPR on mannequins thousands of times, but this time there was a human life involved and it had an entirely different meaning, she said. Once EMS learned that she was a nurse at Memorial Hermann Mischer Neuroscience Institute at the Texas Medical Center, they asked for her clinical opinion.

“I recommended they call Life Flight so he would be transported to the best hospital in the world,” she said. “In that moment, I knew that I was right where I belonged.” Endersbee said the scene was almost surreal as Memorial Hermann Life Flight® landed on the 50-yard line of the soccer field to transport Lopez to the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center (TMC) Campus.

Endersbee added that she felt like she was carrying the reputation of the Institute on her shoulders at that moment and, as she waited for Life Flight to arrive, she prayed that she did everything she could to help her son’s teammate. She counts those moments as the worst hours of her life, and she felt tremendous relief when the principal of the school called to let her know Lopez had made it through and survived.

“The next morning I went into work early, not as a nurse, but as a mom, to see Brandon,” she said. “I spent all of my lunch breaks with him at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital because I just had to be there for him and his parents.” Endersbee later saw Lopez at an end-of-the-year banquet and was thrilled to see him alive and healthy with no visible neurological damage.

While Lopez’s story had a happy ending, Endersbee finds it alarming that more parents, teachers and coaches aren’t certified to administer CPR.

“I hope this story inspires other moms and dads to get CPR certified,” she said. “It scares me to imagine what would have happened had I not been at the game. Who would have stepped up then? Would there have been someone else?”

Sadly, 70 percent of Americans may feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they either do not know how to administer CPR or their training has significantly lapsed, according to the American Heart Association. This alarming statistic could hit close to home, because home is exactly where 88 percent of cardiac arrests occur.

A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association proves that survival chances increase substantially when bystanders deliver CPR and defibrillation before first responders arrive on the scene. Approximately 34 percent of people who had suffered cardiac arrest survived when bystanders delivered CPR and defibrillation, according to the study. That is more than double the survival rate for patients who had to wait for first responders.

While many parents and co-workers have praised Endersbee as a hero, she doesn’t feel like she did anything extraordinary. She simply feels that she had the proper training to examine Lopez and diagnose certain symptoms in order to assist EMS in caring for him.

“My heart went out to Brandon’s family when this happened,” she said. “As healthcare workers, we’re not just about administering procedures; we really have heartfelt compassion for our patients.”

Lopez doesn’t remember many details about the experience but is extremely appreciative that Endersbee was at the game when he collapsed on the field.

“I’m so happy that she was there,” he said. “I might not be with my family today if she wasn’t there that day. I’m so grateful.”