Local News

Four Duke University pre-med students help revive professor

Posted September 16, 2015 6:31 p.m. EDT
Updated September 17, 2015 11:05 a.m. EDT

— Four Duke University pre-med students revived a marketing professor after they found him slouched over in a chair and without a heartbeat on Sept. 7.

Kirsten Bonowitz said she was studying organic chemistry in Perkins Library with three other students when they heard desperate shouts for help.

“Someone came out of the classroom fairly close to us shouting, ‘Does anyone know CPR,’ and—serendipitously—his eyes just kind of fell on us, the three of us in our uniforms,” Bonowitz said.

Bonawitz volunteers for the Duke University EMS. She was on call along with three other pre-med students on Labor Day, all of whom were in the library.

Ritika Patil was on another floor when she was summoned by other students looking for help.

“There were a couple of students that came running up and were like, ‘You’re an EMT, come with us,’” Patil said.

The four students found professor George Grody inside a classroom unconscious and without a pulse.

Medic Kevin Labagnara performed CPR and Patil applied a defibrillator to his chest, giving Grody three electrical shocks. It was the first time Patil had performed electrical shock on an actual patient

“You really can’t allow the nerves to get in the way of what you’re doing,” Patil said. “The nerves are more the adrenaline kicking in, and you just have an extra kick of energy.”

Kristen Bailey also chipped in during the process as she performed chest compressions.

“We do so much training, so my training just kicked in and just did what needed to be done until it was over,” Bailey said.

Eventually the Durham EMS arrived and took over the scene.

“I think it really shows the importance of everyone being trained it bystander CPR, kind of knowing what to do,” Labagnara said.

Officials say that Grody remains in ICU and is expected to fully recover. He did send an email to the students thanking them for their efforts.

“That felt really good, and it still feels really good,” Bailey said. “I would love to be a doctor someday and feel that good all the time.”