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Employee's quick thinking, actions, save visitor's life

Richard Worms on the Hunter bridge, where he performed life-saving CPR on a visitor.

In honor of National Nurses Week May 6 - 12, Spiritual Care chaplains visited departments throughout the hospital for the annual blessing of the hands. At the Saint Raphael Campus, the Rev. William West (at left in photo) read an inspirational story before blessing the hands of Chuck Aprea, RN, utilization review specialist, Care Management, and other members of the department.

When fortunate events occur, people often say that they were in the right place at the right time. On Jan. 31, YNHH employee Richard Worms was in the right place at the absolute best time of all.

On a normal day Worms, an observation associate in the Pediatric Emergency Department, may sit with unaccompanied minors, be available for pediatric patients awaiting evaluation and treatment, escort families to the Hunter building, clean the treatment rooms — basically "anything that will help out the nurses that isn't a medical task," he said.

Worms has been an observation associate for about a year, serving previously as a volunteer in the Pediatric ED. He began volunteering at Yale New Haven in 2012, after working on an ambulance as part of an EMT training course he had taken on a whim.

On Jan. 31, that EMT training became critical while Worms was escorting two families to the Hunter building and one of the mothers collapsed. Worms checked for a pulse, and not finding one, began chest compressions. A Yale University security officer happened to walk by and radioed for the Code Team while Worms continued CPR. When the team responded, the woman was revived and transported back to the ED. "One thing that this job has taught me is that if you think you've seen everything, you haven't," Worms said. "Nothing surprises me anymore."

Worms gives credit to his co-workers in the Pediatric ED. "Everyone is really supportive of each other. It's a team, more than any other place I've ever worked," he said.

But to those who work alongside him, Worms' actions that night — while heroic — are not surprising.

"Richard is our hero," said Denine Baxter, RN, patient service manager, Pediatric ED. "He is humble, relentlessly committed in all he does and he provides the most compassionate care to our patients and families."