Brigham and Women’s nurses help save guest’s life at wedding

QUINCY, Mass. — Last month, Micaela Deary got married, and among the guests at her wedding at The Tirrell Room were several of her colleagues from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Emergency Department.

Like Deary, those guests were all nurses which turned out to be a very fortunate thing.

“Someone had gone up to the band and said something like, stop the music,” recalled Nora Kate O’Brien, BSN, RN. “And I remember turning around towards the back of the dance floor and there was a person lying on the floor.”

A man had suddenly collapsed.

“I quickly ran over to see what was going on, if they needed help,” said Amanda Berger, MSN, RN. “And I very quickly realized that this person was in a bad way.”

Berger said the man’s skin tone was ‘bluish-purple’ and his breathing was abnormal.

“I just instinctively went into ER nurse mode and got on the ground and started to feel for a pulse,” Berger said.

When Berger could detect neither a radial nor a carotid pulse she turned to a colleague and said, we need to do CPR.

“The hysteria went up another level once I started chest compressions,” Berger said. “I could hear this person’s family screaming to the side of me. It was chaos.”

The other nurses at the reception pitched in to help. One timed the compressions. One called 9-1-1. Another helped secure the Automated External Defibrillator (AED). O’Brien gathered information from the man’s family about his age and general health.

“It was like the room disappeared and we were in the ER, doing our thing,” O’Brien said. “We were all there to support each other and we all knew that we had each other’s back.”

“Everybody played a role,” Berger said. “And we just came together as a code team at our colleagues’ wedding.”

Berger said she was scared and nervous attending to the fallen man.

“We see chaos and horrific stuff regularly at work,” she said. “But it’s still in a very safe environment.”

The nurses worked on the man for about 20 minutes, getting help from the bartender, who brought over the AED.

“Everyone knows where it is,” said The Tirrell Room’s Function Director Jennifer Boucher-Orlando. “It’s in our kitchen right when you walk in, so kind of at all angles you can put your eyes on it.”

Paramedics eventually arrived and rushed the man to a local hospital.

The wedding reception ended at that point.

“I remember leaving and feeling sick to my stomach, thinking what just happened,” Berger said. “This person could be dead. This family could be destroyed. My poor friend -- this is her wedding.”

“I think we were all like, did that just really happen,” said O’Brien.

Hours later, the nurses got some good news as they were gathered in the hotel lobby. Then the bride came in and let them know the man survived.

“The part that I have to wrap my head around is, we were where we needed to be at that exact second -- and seconds, in this person’s life, really mattered,” Berger said.

But that wasn’t the only happy ending.

“Micaela shared with us that the band had stayed around... waiting,” Berger said.

Once word came down that the man survived, the band offered to play their last song for the newly married couple. And so they danced.

“That was a beautiful ending,” Berger said. “And I hope that’s what the family will remember... that  it was a happy ending.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW