Mahaska Health Emergency Services Nurse Harmony Edge Honored with Heartsaver Hero Award
June 25, 2020
In recognition of her role in saving the life of local Pastor, Darren Melton, Harmony Edge, Mahaska Health Emergency Services Registered Nurse, has been presented with the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Heartsaver Hero Award. The award is earned by individuals who have performed the heroic act of using CPR to save a life in their community.
In the early hours of the morning on December 11, 2019, local pastor Darren Melton woke feeling sick. “I just didn’t feel good,” he shared. Soon after he started to feel tingling in his arms and hands and began to have difficulty breathing. Melton initially thought the discomfort might be due to the flu or seasonal allergies but would later find out they were signs of a heart attack.
At the urging of his wife Dawn, they made their way to the Mahaska Health Emergency Room. The Meltons arrived at the ER at roughly 7 AM, around the same time as Registered Nurse Harmony Edge began her shift. After only a moment in the waiting room, Melton was brought into an evaluation room. Edge recalls Melton’s lighthearted demeanor upon arriving. “He was laughing and talking, even joking when he came in,” she shared.
Nurse Edge proceeded to raise the head of the bed to take Melton’s temperature, and immediately Melton became “dizzier than [he] had ever experienced,” before losing consciousness. Edge called a code blue, denoting a cardiac arrest, and quickly began chest compressions. Immediately the entire team jumped into action.
In the Emergency Room, teamwork is vital. “The minute I called the code, our team knew exactly what to do,” Edge shared. “Each member of our team was working – grabbing the crash cart, opening the defibrillation pads, getting the Lucas device on – all of it. We didn’t even have to talk.”
In all, Melton was unconscious for under two minutes as the team worked to bring him back. While unconscious, he describes sensing he was in a place of rest and feeling peace. Coming to, Melton shared, was like being pulled back through a tunnel. He awoke to the care team standing around him. As he reoriented himself, he recalls hearing the comforting, reassuring words of Edge – “I’ve got you.”
Edge recalled the first words of Melton upon regaining consciousness. “He asked ‘did you bring me back?’ We said yes, and he said ‘thank you,’” she shared. “He was so happy to be alive.”
“God used [the team] to save my life,” Melton said. When asked what he would share with the team, Melton said “I would say thank you. I am alive today because of their abilities, but beyond that, their heart for service.”
Becoming a Heartsaver
According to Mahaska Health Paramedic, Rob Hanlon, education isn’t just important for healthcare personnel. “Healthcare providers are always called heroes,” he explained, “but so often we forget the importance of the family members who see the signs and act.”
“It’s not often that cardiac events happen in front of a nurse in the ER with all these resources available,” Hanlon explained. “To have Pastor Melton’s experience happen exactly when it did, right here in the Emergency room was the perfect storm.”
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack are vital to acting quickly, and can ultimately save a life. According to the American Heart Association, the five most common warning signs for a heart attack include:
- Pain or discomfort in chest
- Lightheadedness, nausea, or vomiting
- Jaw, neck, or back pain
- Discomfort or pain in arm or shoulder
- Shortness of breath
If you suspect you or someone with you is experiencing a heart attack, call 911. “Our ambulances have all the life-saving tools needed for a heart attack, and we are able get to patients faster than they can get to the hospital themselves,” said Emergency Services Director Mike Lang.
In some cases, providing CPR may be necessary until paramedics arrive. In these situations, CPR education can make all the difference. Mahaska Health’s instructor-led Heartsaver® CPR/AED Courses provide students with life-saving skills in the event of an emergency.
To be notified about upcoming Heartsaver® courses, please contact Education Coordinator Michelle Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or 641.672.3162.