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Omaha man meets Methodist Hospital co-worker who saved his life

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 10:17 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - It’s been over two months since Methodist Hospital employees Tyrone Carter and Richard Nevarez first met. When they met this time, Nevarez was thanking Carter for his life.

“How you doing? How are you?” The two exchanged welcomes before Carter broke the ice. “Good to see you with your eyes open. How you feeling?”

“Much better than I did that day,” Nevarez said.

That day was July 13, when Nevarez, a 58-year-old medical screener at the hospital, was grabbing a bite to eat shortly after midnight.

“It was a normal night shift,” he said. “I had just gone up to the cafeteria and had ordered some food and was standing there, and I think I was getting ready to go to the cashier. The next thing I knew I woke up in the ICU.”

Fortunately for Nevarez, a co-worker he had never met, 48-year-old plant operations mechanic Carter, went right to work on lifesaving measures.

“I just heard kind of a thud behind me, when I turned around Richard was on the ground,” Carter said. He described his first steps to stabilize Nevarez while he had what appeared to be a seizure. “Shortly after that the seizure activity stopped, that’s when I got him flipped over onto this back, made sure his air waves were clear, no pulse, no rising or falling of the chest so no breathing, double checked his airway and began CPR.”

Nevarez went into cardiac arrest, and the medical professionals who followed Carter’s initial efforts credit the man with saving a life. If that sounds like Carter knows what he was doing, he does. A decade earlier he enrolled in classes at Metro College to learn EMT skills, including CPR.

“I got certified as an EMT B,” Carter said. “I never really wanted to go into work for an ambulance or fire department, just for basic knowledge, just for times like this.”

“I found out later from my doctors I was in (ventricular fibrillation), my heart was racing over 200 beats a minute and blood just wasn’t going anywhere,” Nevarez said. “That’s it. If I’d have been anywhere other than the hospital I’d be dead.”

The two embraced when they met at the Methodist Hospital Reflection Garden, where they addressed the media and a small group of family and co-workers, before spending a few moments talking about that morning.

“I went down to the ER and I know they’re not supposed to give me much information, but I did ask,” Carter told Nevarez. “It felt like it just rolled off my tongue so slow, did-he-make-it. Did he make it? And all I could do was just rejoice and thank God that you did make it through, man.”

Nevarez said he had no prior knowledge of heart issues, and has since received an implant that will help him should he have another similar episode.

Both men are married, and both have two children. And its safe to say, both are fans of CPR training.

“You can learn it and not need to use it, bravo,” Carter said. “But when that time comes that you have to use it, you’re prepared.”

Nevarez chimed in, “Living proof.”

“Yeah, he’s right here.”

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