When Debbie Bonacquisti, of Chesterfield, met with friends at a Chesterfield Valley restaurant late on a Sunday morning in November, she didn’t know her skills as a registered nurse would soon be needed.
Michelle Patton, of Wentzville, also didn’t know she would find herself assisting in an emergency situation that day when she and family members went to the same popular eating place.
But neither woman wasted any time in coming to the aid of an elderly patron when they saw her on the restaurant floor, suffering a medical emergency.
Seated nearby with his family was Robin Harris, a director on the Monarch Fire Protection District Board. Seeing Bonacquisti and Patton assisting the stricken woman, Harris dialed 911, a call that quickly brought paramedics Derek Hanley and Matthew Morrison to the scene from the Monarch station not far from the restaurant.
In describing what happened, Harris said Bonacquisti and Patton turned the woman, believed to be a possible stroke victim, on her side and kept her airway clear to maintain the flow of oxygen to her brain until the paramedics arrived and assumed the woman’s care.
Hanley and Morrison reported that the woman’s condition improved en route to the hospital and that she was alert and responsive when emergency room personnel took over. Harris said the patient continued to improve and has made a full recovery.
In large part, the fortunate outcome is due to the immediate assistance given by Bonacquisti and Patton, Harris said.
“They calmed the woman and did everything possible to help her until our paramedics arrived,” he noted. “These days, it seems more common for people to grab their cellphones and video what’s going on in an emergency rather than coming to a person’s aid. But not these two women. They did the right thing and another person’s life may have been saved in the process.”
For their quick actions in caring for a person in need, the Monarch board awarded Tip of the Helmet plaques to Patton and Bonacquisti in a ceremony attended by family members and friends during the fire board’s Dec. 20 meeting.
Bonacquisti is a nurse at Manchester Surgery Center in Des Peres. Patton is an ocean freight insurance adjuster.