An Angel on Wheels

Angels don’t always appear in mystical visions. Sometimes, they show up on bicycles. During St. Petersburg’s ‘Meek and Mighty Triathlon’, an annual May event to raise funds for St. Anthony’s Hospital, 37-year old Teresa McCoy was about to finish the cycling competition when she noticed a man who’d collapsed on the street. Two police officers were hovering over him. Since McCoy is a nurse at Tampa General’s cardiac unit, she rushed over to investigate. The police said they thought the man, with whom McCoy had chatted briefly before the race, was having a seizure. McCoy’s observations and experience told her something different.

She checked the man’s pulse and found none – “He wasn’t looking good,” she said – so Nurse McCoy immediately started CPR. She also shouted for a portable defibrillator, which one of the officers kept in the trunk of his cruiser. McCoy said as soon as she shocked him, he came to. There’s little doubt the middle-aged man, who wasn’t identified, would have died on the spot if not for Teresa McCoy’s training in CPR. It’s highly probable that other bikers, who kept pedaling past the downed man, had no such training, even though it’s widely available at the Red Cross and other agencies. What possible excuse can there be for failing to learn a simple technique that can and does save lives?

Teresa McCoy has no doubt why she “just happened” on the scene. She said afterward, “I’m so glad he survived, I know that God put me where I was supposed to be. It’s like I was his angel today.” If the power to save lives, to be somebody’s “angel” is as easy as taking a few hours of training in CPR, what are you waiting for?


Tom Sirmons