23-year-old Brock Norred sat in his vehicle about to leave Rosalia Salazar’s residence after a night of hanging out when all of a sudden his breathing became heavy. After several failed attempts to fill his lungs with oxygen he felt his throat begin to close up. Using his last ounce of strength, Norred was able to contact Salazar for help and she found Norred passed out in the driver’s seat slumped over the steering wheel. Salazar took his vitals and found him with a: capillary refill of greater than 3 seconds; signs of hypoxia; a tachycardic heartrate; cyanosis around his lips and eyelids; and he was cool pale, and diaphoretic. Something was wrong and she knew her number one priority was to support his airway and maintain it.
Norred’s ability to speak was diminishing and his speech was slurred. He was slipping in and out of consciousness while wheezing and using all of his accessory muscles to breathe. At this point, he could not open his eyes anymore. Salazar along with her mother and best friend quickly took him to the hospital.
While in route, Salazar supported Norred’s airway and administered rescue breaths as needed. Norred was definitely in need of hospital care.
Once at the hospital, Salazar wheeled Norred in on a wheel chair and he was immediately triaged. That night, he was the most critical patient the hospital had received. The attending physician took him in and started him on a breathing treatment with epinephrine along with some Benadryl. The RN’s commented that if he were to have not come in as quick as he did, it would have been fatal.
Sometime around 2:40AM, Norred was stabilized and it was identified that what he had experienced was caused by a mixture of tonsillitis and an allergic reaction to an unknown allergen. But nonetheless, he was A&O X 4 now. 3:20AM came, and Norred was discharged from the facility.
Salazar is a student at the College of Southern Nevada studying Special Education and Emergency Medical Services. She is serving as the current CSN HOSA President and has served as the Nevada HOSA State President in 2014-15.
Norred says, “I remember bits and pieces of it, and I remember Rosalia always trying to make sure I was breathing and alert. I’m told she kept my airway open the entire time. Rosalia registered me into the ER, and then proceeded to explain to the nurses and doctors my situation.”
HOSA is dedicated to creating Future Health Professionals, and although Salazar aspires to pursue a career as an educator in a classroom, her heart lies in prehospital care. That day, she was a clear example of what it means to be an everyday hero.
“It doesn’t matter what’s going on, as long as you remember to check your ABC’s: Airway, Breathing, and Circulation.” Explains Salazar, “You can change someone’s life by simply keeping their airway open. I treated Brock the same way I would want somebody to treat one of my brothers: with compassion. If it wasn’t for the care that I provided, he probably would’ve suffocated. I’m very glad that something as little as maintaining his airway open until I could hand him off to a higher level of care, made such a difference. I would do it time and time again.”
Norred concludes with, “It was very difficult to breathe. Her supporting my airway is probably the reason why I’m alive. And for that, I am very thankful for Rosalia.”