CHICAGO (CBS) — Monday is National First Responders Day – a day to show our gratitude for those on the front lines, getting us through the emergencies we can’t handle on our own.
That was the case earlier this month for a woman from the South Shore neighborhood – untrained, yet forced to do CPR to save her sister.
As CBS 2’s Jim Williams reported, Amena Karim reached out to us because she wanted us along when she went to thank the 911 operator who picked up her call. Khan and the operator, Lauren Trylovich, embraced warmly upon meeting at the city’s 911 Center – having been brought together by a chance to save a life.
It was a terrifying situation when Khan called 911 and got Lauren on the phone. Kahn told the dispatcher her sister was clammy and not moving.
“Ma’am, listen to me, this is very important – somebody needs to start CPR on her right now,” Trylovich said.
Karim’s sister, Rasheda Khan, became unresponsive earlier this month. Karim knew she had to act fast.
“I didn’t know what to say or what to do, and you were so confident and so courageous,” Karim told Trylovich.
Trylovich said after getting the required information, she was able to begin directing Karim.
“We were able to then go to work, essentially, and position her sister for CPR,” Trylovich said.
Trylovich: “So she’s flat on her back?”
Karim: “Yes, she’s turning blue.”
Trylovich: “All you have to do is put your palms on the center of her chest, push down hard and fast – just like how they do it on TV.”
“She empowered me to help my sister, but also, she was very empathetic and effective,” Karim said of Trylovich.
Trylovich is a former paramedic. She has been working at the city’s Office of Emergency Management for four years – taking intense calls like Karim’s.
But when asked how often she gets a call from someone who wants to thank her, Trylovich said: “Never. In my entire career here, this has never happened.”
But it did happen with Karim.
Trylovich noted that on almost all calls, “we never really find out the ending.”
Karim said: “I wanted to give her story from end to end – how she helped me, and how gracious and humble and effective she was, but then also tell her that the story ended great – that it was a great story to tell, and my sister’s here.”
Karim’s sister is doing well, but was still recovering at the time of the meeting with Trylovich and could not make it.
Karim said she plans to learn CPR, and hopes her family will encourage others to do so as well.
For information on how you can learn CPR, click here and look for the American Red Cross First Aid app.