In Her Words: Fisher Student Aids Customer in Need

June 12, 2020

Fourth-year pharmacy student Gillian Eppinger was completing her Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE) rotation at Hilton Family Pharmacy when a customer experienced a medical emergency. Drawing on the knowledge she has gained during her studies, she was able to jump in and help. She shares her experiences here.

Gillian Eppinger

It was just a normal day at a local independent community pharmacy, Hilton Family Pharmacy, and I was ending my first week at my first-ever APPE rotation.  It was around 4 p.m. on May 22, 2020 and I had just finished ringing out a woman for her prescription. 

About five minutes after leaving, she had ran back inside the store in a panic saying there was a medical emergency in the parking lot. Concerned, my preceptor, Peter Miles, and I ran outside to find a man that appeared to be in his 30s, slumped over in the driver’s seat of his car.  He was not breathing and turning blue. 

This was a scary for me, as I have never been in a situation like this before. Thankfully, the woman that had brought this to our attention was already on the phone with a 911 operator explaining the situation as it unfolded. My preceptor felt for a pulse and was unable to find one.  We then were instructed to pull the man from the car and lay him flat on the ground.

Peter began to carry this man out of the car while I supported his head to make sure it didn’t hit anything, including the ground.  When we got the man safely down to the ground in the proper position, I knelt by his side. Not even giving it a second thought, I began chest compressions.  He quickly began to regain color in his skin; I was surprised at how immediate this was.  Within two to three minutes of chest compressions, he began breathing. 

I was so relieved.  Shortly after he started breathing, the ambulance arrived and EMTs took over.  The man was brought to the hospital and I was happy to learn that he is recovering well. 

This event is something I would have never imagined myself stepping in and handling.  However, I am thankful that I was there and able to help, as I would want someone to do the same for me.  I would never have been prepared for this situation if it were not for the Wegmans School of Pharmacy.  I am grateful that CPR certification was a part of the curriculum, as the situation could have turned out drastically different. 

The truth is, you never know what you will encounter, and I believe that CPR is something that everyone should learn. You could save a life!