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Sirena Espinosa

LVN, Normoyle Senior Center, San Antonio

Picture of Sirena Espinosa

“That’s what I’m trained to do, but it was the first time I put that training to work.”

On a typical day at the Normoyle Senior Center in San Antonio, WellMed nurse Sirena Espinosa serves in a role much like a school nurse. She sees anywhere from eight to 20 center visitors each day. “They come in to check their weight or blood pressure, and we spend time talking about healthy living habits,” Sirena said.

January 25 this year was a different kind of day. Sirena decided to stay at the center to take her lunch break that day. She was in her office, door just slightly ajar so she could focus on some work, when she heard someone hollering. There was an emergency in the volleyball room.

While someone called 911, Sirena ran to the room where she found a man, face down on the floor and bleeding. “The man was blue and he had a gash on his forehead. My first thought was ‘This can’t be real,’” Sirena said.

The man was unresponsive and had no pulse. Sirena immediately started CPR. After an intense few minutes, the man started to breathe. “At that point he seemed to be having a seizure and was foaming at the mouth,” she said. EMS arrived within a few minutes, and took the incoherent man to a hospital.

Meanwhile, Sirena was shaken and reeling from the emotional toll. “I sat in my office for a few minutes, but then I had to go home. I was overwhelmed. It was surreal,” she said. “I even cried at some point. That’s what I’m trained to do, but it was the first time I put that training to work.” Ironically, Sirena is a CPR trainer herself.

The next day, the man’s wife came to the senior center to thank Sirena. She said they admitted her husband to the hospital and he was in stable condition. She reported that he fractured his nose, and left cheekbone, and received sutures to his forehead.

Thanks to Sirena, the man lives another day to tell others about that day in January.