Woman saved at local Shoprite

May 1, 2008 5:02:43 PM PDT
Thanks to the quick response of Shoprite workers and one of their customers, an elderly woman is saved.

It started out like any other day for 23-year-old Crystal Mills. She was mixing batter at the bakery where she works at the Shoprite on Roosevelt Boulevard.

But when an elderly customer collapsed in a checkout aisle, she and Laura Smith, a nurse who was shopping at the store, sprang into action.

"I went over, she had no pulse, she was not breathing at all," said Smith.

9-1-1 was called, and Smith and Mills started CPR as other workers brought the Automated External Defibrillator, or AED. Mills learned how to use the device just a few months ago. "To have that training under me, it was just a great feeling to know I can apply it," she said.

After one shock, Smith said the collapsed shopper's heart was beating again and as emergency crews arrived, she was breathing. "Wow, I saved someone's life," said Mills, adding, "It was the best feeling ever."

Emergency room doctors say AEDs save lives because people can be treated within seconds. "So it's phenomenal to have people out in the city who are able to do this and understand it," said Dr. Eric Stander, medical director of the emergency department at Nazareth Hospital.

Owner of the Shoprite in Northeast Philadelphia, Rich McMenamin said all Shoprite stores have AED's and workers trained to use them. "If you can save one life, it's great but in our case we've been able as a company to save 36 so we're happy and I think it's worth it," he said.

Mills and Smith were honored at the store today. But Mills is back to the usual, decorating cakes at the bakery, only now she says life is a bit sweeter. "I'm proud of myself," she said.

The shopper saved is on the road to recovery.