Karlee McGinnis didn’t expect to save a life during her day off at the parade, but former Delaware Judge Don Callender was glad she was around.
McGinnis was with her family watching the Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Willmington, Delaware, Saturday when Callender, who was marching in the parade, suddenly collapsed.
“The parade just barely started, so it happened really fast,” McGinnis said. “My sister tapped me on the shoulder saying, ‘Karlee I think you need to go help.'”
When McGinnis reached Callender, she immediately knew something was wrong and had to act fast.
“He was completely grey,” she said. “And then someone checked his pulse and there was nothing, so I immediately started performing CPR.”
Callender was having a heart attack at the time and was dead for three rounds of CPR. Another nurse, Lew Smiley, helped McGinnis perform CPR until more help arrived.
“It was kinda like auto pilot. I just jumped right in,” McGinnis said.
She performed chest compressions on Callender while also being six months pregnant.
After about a minute, color returned to Callender and he gasped for air. He was taken to St. Francis Hospital. He reportedly asked for McGinnis’ phone number to personally thank her for saving his life.
“It’s probably one of the most moving things happen to me in my life,” he said. “Karlee’s memory is in my chest because she really pushed hard.”