Hometown: Savannah, Ga.
Class of 2001
An Armstrong Experience Leads to Saving Lives
Last summer, Candler Hospital pediatric nurse Julie Anderson Paul planned to spend her day off relaxing on Tybee Island’s North Beach with family and friends.
She never expected she would save a life.
Just after taking a walk down the beach looking for shells with her son, Julie noticed a chaotic scene by the shoreline. “I heard people screaming and saw them dragging a child up from the shore,” she recalls. “I dropped everything and took off running towards them.”
Bystanders were performing CPR on a lifeless toddler who had been swept underwater by a powerful wave, but this experienced R.N. knew the technique they were using was more appropriate for adults, not children. As the child’s distraught mother pleaded for help, Julie took over the rescue breathing, observing that the three-year-old boy was in tough shape.
“He was just lifeless and blue,” she says, explaining that time stood still as she breathed into the toddler’s mouth, over and over again. “I kept praying that he would start breathing. Eventually, he opened his eyes. He gradually came around and the lifeguards brought oxygen and took him to an ambulance at a nearby parking lot.”
All that night and the next day, Julie couldn’t help but wonder how the boy was doing. She called around to nurses at area emergency rooms and found out that his condition was stable. One nurse put Julie on the line with the child’s mother, who tearfully thanked Julie for saving her son’s life.
Then, Julie had the opportunity to speak with the rescued toddler. “He told me that he loved me,” she says. “That was incredible.”
Although she doesn’t consider herself a hero, this dedicated pediatric nurse credits Armstrong with helping her save a child’s life on a hot summer day on Tybee Island.
“Armstrong prepared me for my job, and my job prepared me for that moment,” she explains. “You never know what life has in store.”