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>> BSN Student in the news Luck, novel treatment save the day By Dawn Brazell, MUSC Public Relations It was December 13, late afternoon on a warm Tuesday, a good day for a run or so Justin Repshas thought. The College of Charleston senior had finished a tough exam and needed a break before studying for his next test. Meanwhile, MUSC College of Nursing student Meg Skeele was having a very bad day. She was exhausted between exams and work and just felt out of sorts in general. A friend coaxed her to go out to eat to cheer her up. She agreed. In an unusual turn of events, MUSC research fellow Michael Bernard, MD, PhD, was able to leave work early — a very rare event — to go Christmas shopping for his wife at a cookware store downtown. How they all happened to end up on a side street downtown just when Repshas’ life depended on it, no one knows. Repshas is just glad they did. The three recently got to meet at MUSC, celebrate how well Repshas is doing and share their stories. As Skeele was driving by, she remembers seeing a crowd of people around someone lying in the grass, someone who looked somewhat like her younger brother. Her ‘gut’ told her to stop, and her friend didn’t mind. She assessed the situation

(L to R) Dr. Michael Bernard, Justin Repshas, and Meg Skeele 20


Spring | Summer 2012

and realized he needed CPR. “He was just helpless on the ground and no one was doing anything. His pulse was thready, and he had stopped breathing.” She dropped down to begin compressions, silently singing the Bee Gees’ tune “Staying Alive” as she had been taught to do in trainings. She laughs. “It has the right rhythm.” Mentally freaking out, she tried to remain composed. “It’s totally different from simulation lab,” she said. Then Bernard, who specializes in heart arrhythmias, drove by after having no luck in getting a gift. He saw someone doing CPR and stopped to help. Though Skeele knew EMS had been called, she said it was such a relief to see him arrive and have a “senior official” there. Bernard monitored Repshas’ pulse and Skeele continued to do compressions. Help from the Charleston Fire Department and EMS arrived in what seemed an eternity to Skeele, and Bernard briefed the emergency technicians on Repshas’ condition. At the time, Skeele and Bernard thought the patient, who had no identification, would be taken to another hospital. Skeele said she got in her car and sat for awhile in shock. Later, she tried to find out how he was, but patient privacy laws kept her from being able to get any information on his condition. Frustrated, Skeele accepted she may never know the young man’s fate, but then she saw an email from her nursing college that let her know Bernard was looking for her. Repshas ended up at MUSC for treatment since he had no identification. Bernard said he noticed a 22-year-old was in ICU who had avoided sudden cardiac death. Bernard thought who else could that be? In all the craziness he had forgotten Skeele’s name, but the family wanted to meet her. When Skeele came to visit, the family was in the waiting room. She was introduced and the mom, Chris Bernock, beamed at her saying, “This is the one. Let me give you a big hug.” Skeele said it was one of the most emotionally-charged moments she’s ever had and she instantly liked Bernock. “His mom was so calm and pulled together. It was fantastic meeting her. I met his sister, too.” Though Bernard was not directly involved with Repshas’ care, he did end up putting in his implantable cardioverter defibrillator

Lifelines Spring/Summer 2012  
Lifelines Spring/Summer 2012  

MUSC College of Nursing magazine - Spring/Summer 2012