Off-Duty Providence Nurse Saves Man’s Life

December 1, 2017 1:35 pm Published by

August 22 started out as a regular day for Wayne and Shirley Colburn of Lucedale, Miss. But by the end of that Tuesday, they had experienced a miracle that saved Wayne’s life.

The couple, who has been married 48 years, had driven from Lucedale to Pascagoula that morning to pick up their new car before heading to Providence for a doctor’s appointment for a problem Wayne was having with his legs. They stopped at Burger King on Airport Blvd. for lunch, and that’s when their day went from routine to terrifying. “I got out of the car and went around the back,” Shirley said. “There he lay on the pavement. He had fallen backward and was turning blue and gasping for air.”

Shirley ran inside and shouted for someone to call an ambulance and then returned to her husband’s side. “It seemed like I was outside my body looking down on the event. It was just me and Wayne and God. I stood up and held my arms in the air and screamed ‘God you’ve got to send me somebody to help!’”

And He did. That “somebody” was Jennifer Folds, a nurse who works in the Providence ICU. Jennifer was off work that day and happened to be driving in slow traffic past the Burger King when she saw Wayne in distress on the ground. She pulled into the parking lot, told Shirley that she worked in the medical field and immediately began performing CPR on Wayne until the ambulance arrived to transport him to Providence.

“Everything came together to put me in the right place at the right time,” Jennifer said.

Another bystander drove Shirley to Providence and waited with her in the Level 5 waiting room until her family arrived. They soon heard a Code Blue called overhead. “My heart sank in my chest,” she said. “I knew it was Wayne. The head nurse came out to talk to me, and told me and my family that he had coded again and there was not much hope. They wanted me to be prepared if the worst happened.”

But Jennifer’s quick actions, the skills of the hospital staff, and the prayers of Shirley and Wayne’s family and ministers from three different churches saved Wayne’s life. Within days, his condition had improved enough for him to undergo a heart catheterization and placement of a stent that corrected an 80 percent blockage.

With their father’s health restored, the Colburn children started looking for the “angel” who had performed CPR on their dad but couldn’t find her – until she showed up at his bedside. When Jennifer asked if they remembered her, Wayne said, “My angel. Praise God.”

Jennifer said the experience has made a tremendous impact on her, both personally and professionally. “If I never do another thing, I did that,” she said. “It was the best of humanity coming together to help.  I was a small piece of that puzzle that kept him here with us.”

The Colburns said they are grateful not only to Jennifer but also to the staff of the Emergency Department, Levels 5, 6 and 10, the doctors who cared – and prayed — for Wayne, the heart cath team, the volunteers and the Senior Spirit program. “Listen to God,” Shirley said. “God says when it’s over and when it’s not. The doctors and nurses at Providence Hospital will be the first ones to tell you that. Don’t give up on God. He will never give up on you.”