09 May 2018

When Brookdale Colonial Park Executive Director Robert Denninger decided to take a phone call outside on Tuesday, May 8th, he had no idea that decision would be part a series of events that would lead two Brookdale nurses to save someone’s life.

While Robert was outside, he witnessed a car suddenly pull out into the path of a motorcyclist. The bike made contact with the car, throwing the driver of the motorcycle off the bike approximately 30-40 feet. Robert immediately went inside and directed the concierge to call 911. He went to the nurses’ station at the exact time that Deb Rogers, health and wellness director, and Janet Wirtanen, RN, of Nurse on Call (a subsidiary of Brookdale Healthcare Services), happened to be there. He told them what happened. The two immediately jumped into action.  The nurses grabbed gloves and ran outside to help. 

Deb, whose clinical experience includes working in a hospital emergency room and Janet, who worked as an EMT for almost four years, were the first to get to the aid of the injured motorcyclist. Their instincts kicked in and the rest is a blur to them.

“You don’t think, you just do,” said Deb of their heroic efforts.

Janet stabilized the motorcyclist’s head. She kept him calm, when he came to, by talking to him. Deb helped stabilize his arms and legs, which sustained injuries. When the police arrived, they followed the lead of the nurses by helping direct traffic.

“It felt like 30 minutes, but was really only 8-10 minutes before the EMTs arrived,” said Robert. “Time just stood still.” He added that it was “pretty amazing to see these two lifesavers just spring into action and keep the situation calm until authorities arrived.”

“We weren’t going to let him go until help arrived,” said Janet. “We had a job to do and we were seeing it through.”

EMTs arrived quickly and rushed the injured party to the hospital. Our Brookdale heroes went back to work to finish their work with residents.

“They are so humble,” said Robert. “It was like it was just something they did and didn’t feel they needed to be recognized. That’s a true hero.”

When asked how they felt about their actions, they both agreed they are confident anyone in their position would have done the same. “Nursing is not something that you do for recognition,” said Deb. Janet added that “your reward is just helping someone.”

Brookdale is proud of our two nurses who sprang into action to help come to the aid of an injured motorcyclist. We hope he makes a full recovery.

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