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Bus drivers save passenger's life in aisle

12:26 AM, Jan 5, 2013   |    comments
Donna Wright (left) & Debby Kerr, Kalamazoo Metro Transit drivers.
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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WZZM) -- Two Kalamazoo Metro Transit drivers are being praised for their life-saving efforts to help a woman with a heart condition on a bus.

The incident happened December 14 on Metro Transit Route 3 near Maple Hill Mall.

Joyce Gregory, 60, got onto the bus driven by Debby Kerr.  According to a news release from the city, Gregory was winded as she boarded the bus with her walker in tow.  Gregory and Kerr chatted, then the passenger sat down and the driver stepped off the bus momentarily.

Kerr then heard Gregory yelling, "I need help. My heart. My heart."  When she reached Gregory, she noticed her passenger's head dropping and eyes rolling back.

Another driver, Donna Wright, was soon to arrive on the route, and Kerr knew she would need her help.  Another passenger bright Wright to Kerr's bus, and the two drivers began performing CPR.

"I hadn't had CPR in 25 years and I'd never had to perform it on a real person," said Kerr in the news release.  "I'm not a paramedic or a first-responder. I'm a bus driver.

"I remember thinking, 'Jesus, if you're ever going to answer a prayer, I need your help right now'."

Wright has an associate's degree in allied health and received her CPR certification four years ago.  This was the first time she had actually used her training.

"When I signed on at Metro Transit I said I would do what I could to help someone, but I was not going to perform rescue breaths on anyone because I needed to protect my health," Wright said in the release. "But when you're in the situation where you get no pulse and someone is laying there dying, you just do whatever you can."

Kerr had notified her dispatchers to send emergency responders, who arrived take over life-saving efforts.  Yet when an ambulance crew took Gregory away, the woman had no detectible pulse.

Wright and Kerr later learned Gregory had pulled through at Bronson Methodist Hospital.  Gregory is recovering from triple-bypass surgery.

Gregory's family credits the bus drivers with saving her life.  The family plans to treat Kerr and Wright "to dinner out and some hot-tub time," according to the city news release.

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