Veteran grateful his nurse made the call


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Back in November, a Veteran failed to show up for his appointment at the Las Cruces clinic in New Mexico.  His nurse, Linda Perez, immediately got a bad feeling.

“He’s pretty good about being here on time,” said Perez, 47.  “In fact, he’s usually ahead of time.  He’s quite punctual, so when he didn’t show up for his appointment I became concerned.  He’s diabetic, and he’d had a previous episode where his blood sugar level got very low and he went into diabetic shock.  So I was worried about him.  I decided to call him to make sure he was okay.”

As it turned out, Perez’s instincts were good.  The Veteran wasn’t okay.  He was apparently in the midst of a serious diabetic episode.

“I called his cellphone and at first he didn’t answer,” she said. “But then he finally did, and he sounded confused.  I asked him if he was okay and he told me he felt really sick.  He was driving around in his car, but he couldn’t tell me where he was.  I felt so helpless, not being able to find him.  I kept trying to get him to tell me where he was.”

In the photo above Perez tries to comfort the patient who is in the midst of a medical crisis and unable to provide his exact location.  Nurse Manager Crystal Davis-Whited listens in.

“It was scary,” said Crystal Davis-Whited, the nurse manager at the Las Cruces VA clinic:  “I was really worried that he was driving, and close to losing consciousness.  So it wasn’t just his life that was in danger, but everyone around him.  The potential there was pretty bad.  But Linda just kept talking to him.  She was trying to get him to read street signs for her, but his vision was blurry and he couldn’t see the signs.”

After a few tense minutes, Linda’s calm persistence paid off.

“Finally he was able to tell me what intersection he was at and what kind of car he was driving, and that’s when I called 911,” she said. “I stayed on the phone with him until the EMS people could get to him.  I told him to find something to eat, so he found a peppermint candy and ate that.”

Rushed to the Emergency Room

The local EMS squad rushed the Veteran to the nearest emergency room, where he was stabilized.

“Later they told me his blood sugar had dropped all the way down to 41,” Perez said.  “Apparently he had taken his insulin that morning but hadn’t eaten breakfast.”

Was it some kind of sixth sense that made Perez pick up the phone that morning and call her missing patient?

“That’s kind of the culture around here,” said Nurse Manager Crystal Davis-Whited.  “We’re a smaller clinic, so we know our patients.  We’re all kind of one big family.”

Perez said being a nurse seems to be her true calling, a revelation that didn’t come along right away.

“I was a hairdresser for 23 years,” she said.  “Now I wish I had skipped the hairdressing and gone right into nursing.”

Learn more about diabetes, VA research on diabetes and The VA Diabetes Trial.

Author

Tom Cramer

Comments

  1. Robert Van Keuren    

    WONDERFUL, Nurse Perez!!! May God RICHLY BLESS YOU for the LOVE and CARE you demonstrated for your VOCATION and for your CHARGES!!! YOU and THE VETERANS are our HEROES!!! ❤❤

  2. Dr. David Hatfield, SGM, US Army (Ret.)    

    What an awesome example of caring and action by Nurse Linda Perez!! She’s the kind of terrific person working in the VA that we don’t hear about. We only hear about the bad examples, but there are plenty of good examples like Linda Perez, too. Keep telling both stories, so we don’t forget the Linda’s of the VA!

  3. John Karr    

    Yeah this story is a crock! Nobody at the VA cares about you.

  4. Lynn Jewett    

    Great job Ms Perez. People like you are what’s needed at the VA Hospitals all over the county. Bless you

  5. Linda P. Mapp    

    Wonderful story. I am a non-practicing nurse and would like to go back to nursing. I was fired from my job because of my
    religious belief. I saw miracles happened on the job because some nurses cared for patients that were down and out and other nurses did not care. I am fully retired now and give the Lord Jesus Christ all the glory and honor that there are people
    out there like Linda. It was the spirit of the Lord using Nurse Perez. I am a veteran also and knows that many veterans have had bad experiences with the VA system but my primary care health provider is the VA system. It is time now to turn all the bad experiences into good experiences.

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