Pizza in Paris employee performs CPR, saves customer’s life

TAKING AN ORDER: Devin Taylor writes down a telephone order at Pizza in Paris. Taylor, who has worked at Pizza in Paris for a few months, called 911 and performed CPR last week on a customer who was experiencing a medical emergency. Her quick thinking and training as a CNA saved the woman's life. (Pioneer photo/Emily Grove-Davis)

TAKING AN ORDER: Devin Taylor writes down a telephone order at Pizza in Paris. Taylor, who has worked at Pizza in Paris for a few months, called 911 and performed CPR last week on a customer who was experiencing a medical emergency. Her quick thinking and training as a CNA saved the woman’s life. (Pioneer photo/Emily Grove-Davis)

PARIS — Last Thursday was a busy, chaotic night filled with lots of customers at Pizza in Paris. That busy chaos soon turned into frantic panic when a medical emergency forced staff to save a life.

Pizza in Paris owners Casey and Megan Councilor were working in the back of the restaurant making pizzas, while employee Devin Taylor was in the front taking orders and serving customers.

As patrons made their way in and out the front door, Taylor was waiting on tables and answering the phone. A woman and her mother, regulars at the restaurant, ordered breadsticks and Taylor went to put the order in. She stopped to wash her hands in the back, but soon heard screaming fill the pizza parlor.

“All I heard was someone yelling ‘Dial 911! Dial 911!’ and I was right by the phone so I dialed and was listening as it rang,” Taylor said. “I was able to look out and from my training I first thought she was having a seizure. I assessed that nobody else in the building knew what to do, so I handed the phone to someone else. I didn’t have time to wait for someone to answer the phone, I needed to get over to her.”

Taylor previously worked as a CNA and currently is in nursing school. While employed at the hospital, she was constantly working in the emergency room. Her training and experience kicked in and she was soon next to the woman and her panicked, hysterical daughter.

Taylor instructed the woman to attempt to take deep breathes, but realized she wasn’t blinking, making any eye movement and was not speaking. The woman also had heavy perspirations and was becoming extremely pale. Taylor had someone go get a cool rag and started checking for a pulse.

“I reached inside her shirt first to see if I could get a heart rate and I’m trying not to panic her daughter, but in my head I say to myself ‘I don’t feel anything,’ and started to worry,” Taylor said. “I start to feel her wrists and there was nothing. Then, that instant I looked up at her and she was completely gray. I knew she wasn’t breathing.”

Bystanders assisted Taylor in getting the woman from the booth onto the ground. Once she was on the floor, Taylor unbuttoned her shirt and began performing CPR. Taylor would feel the woman trying to start breathing, but once she stopped compressions, the woman would become gray and pale again.

“I’m so glad she was here,” Megan Councilor said. “I’m trained in CPR because I run a daycare, but I’ve never actually had to do CPR except on a dummy, which is completely different.”

As Taylor continued CPR, someone called dispatch again to say the woman had stopped breathing and had no heartbeat, hoping help would arrive soon. But the woman’s condition continued to worsen.

“She started choking on her tongue and was spitting up blood, so I continued CPR and had the woman’s head turned to the side because I wasn’t going to stop CPR since she wasn’t breathing,” she said.

Soon after, Big Rapids Department of Public Safety fire and rescue personnel showed up and began using a defibrillator on the woman. To allow the men to clear the woman’s airway, Taylor kept performing CPR until a tube was able to be put in place and she was receiving air. They then hooked her up to the LUCAS chest compression machine, which performs CPR by itself. EMS arrived soon after and transported the woman to the hospital. When she left, the woman again had a heartbeat, Taylor said.

“By the time it was all done it was around 8 p.m., so I’d say I did about 30 minutes of CPR before anyone got here,” she said.

After the woman was transported via ambulance, the Councilors and Taylor were informed she was being flown to Grand Rapids via AeroMed. It is believed the woman was suffering from some sort of cardiac arrest. In the latest update given to Pizza in Paris, the woman has been awoken from a medically induced coma and is doing well.

“She’s out of the ICU, but her family says she tells them she wants to get back here and thank everyone for what they did to help. It’s really good to hear everything is OK with her.”

For Casey Councilor, the crazy experience has opened his eyes and pushed him to look at bringing someone into the restaurant to offer CPR certification for workers.

“It’s something I hope never happens again, but if it did I would want us all to be ready,” he said.

While Taylor has only worked at the restaurant for a few months, Councilor thinks it may have been meant to be.

“I believe in the Lord and everything happens for a reason,” he said. “That could be the reason I hired Devin to work here. After this job, she’ll move on and she’s doing more schooling, but maybe her being here now was to help this lady.”

 

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Posted by Emily Grove

Emily is the Pioneer and Herald Review crime and court reporter, covering crime in both Mecosta and Osceola counties. She can be reached by e-mail at emily@pioneergroup.com or by phone at (231) 592-8362.

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