MedWatch Today: Healthcare Heroes, Shelby Magee and Maisa Lao


Two externs in the emergency department at Community Regional Medical Center jumped into immediate action to save a patient’s life when that patient was choking on food. We’re honoring those two externs this week as our healthcare heroes.

Shelby Magee and Maisa Lao are on their way to becoming registered nurses. On a typical shift, they take patient’s vitals stock pods, help patients with eating, and assist in anyway else they can. In July, the two women heard a patient in a room struggling with her breathing.

Maisa explained, “We were just notified by the patient’s daughter that her mom was choking. The patient did the universal choking hand gesture… We both just kinda ran into action, and she actually jumped on the patient first by performing the Heimlich maneuver.”

“And then we kinda took turns until Maisa saw a thumbs up and she was able to swallow and take a breath,” continued Shelby. She said, “I think the whole thing just goes back to my favorite part about working in the emergency department, and it’s in those like critical moments when you really need somebody, you never question, you know you always have your coworkers and your mentors that are right there with you. It’s kinda like this team effort of all hands on deck.”

Shelby and Maisa said they are highly trained in basic life support and they continue to learn from the medical staff in the emergency department.

Dawn Buckenberger is the clinical supervisor of the emergency department at Community Regional. She commented, “I am so proud, these two you know, Mai, she was just on orientation with Shelby and she is a go getter from the beginning. Like she’s still in orientation but she’s going to be amazing and Shelby’s one of our externs, so she’s done really quick care with school and she’ll be one of our nurses on our staff and I couldn’t be more proud. They’re super, they’re great girls.”

The patient recovered from her scare, and family says they are grateful for Shelby and Maisa’s quick life saving actions.

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