As an intensive care nurse, Danielle “Dani” Milano is used to reacting quickly in emergencies. Last year, she had an opportunity to use those same nursing skills off-duty in a life-and-death incident.
On a Friday evening in September, Milano and friends were walking to the Fox Theatre to see the Broadway musical Aladdin when they heard the loud crash of a nearby car accident. One of the cars veered off the road, struck a female pedestrian then rolled down an embankment not far from where they were walking.
The woman who was hit was dragged down the embankment and was underneath the car. Milano could see her feet sticking out. Her nursing instincts kicked in immediately.
“I just remember thinking, I’ve got to get to that woman, I’ve got to get to her,” said Milano, a nurse for 7 ½ years, the last four as an intensive care nurse with Piedmont Healthcare Atlanta.
Milano, in dress and heels, threw her purse to a friend and started running toward the wreckage. The woman was pinned underneath, and several bystanders lifted the car off from her. Milano said the woman had no pulse and was bleeding from her mouth.
Piedmont ICU supervisor Kerry McKee said Milano’s response reveals her excellence as a nurse.
“Without having Dani’s quick response, this woman may not have had a chance of survival,” McKee wrote in his Celebrating Nurses nomination.
Milano administered CPR until the ambulance arrived. She said the woman was breathing and had a pulse when paramedics took her to Grady Hospital. Milano doesn’t know what happened to the woman since the accident but thinks about her every day.
“It was a situation where you don’t even think. You just do what you’ve been trained to do your whole life,” Milano said. “Throughout our careers we’re trained what to do in these types of emergencies, but you never think you’ll experience it in real life.”