Karma: Former Army medic saved by VA employee - Lebanon VA Medical Center
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Lebanon VA Medical Center


Karma: Former Army medic saved by VA employee

Michael Byrd, an Army Veteran and successful businessman and Beverly Miller, an employee at Lebanon VA Medical Center at the facility Aug. 28. Miller saved Byrd’s life by performing CPR on him when he collapsed during a run in early August.

Michael Byrd, an Army Veteran and successful businessman and Beverly Miller, an employee at Lebanon VA Medical Center at the facility Aug. 28. Miller saved Byrd’s life by performing CPR on him when he collapsed during a run in early August.

By Angela King-Sweigart, Lebanon VAMC
Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Karma: Former Army medic saved by VA employee

September 3, 2019
by Angela King-Sweigart, Lebanon VAMC

Springing into action
That man is going to die! He needs help! These thoughts rushed into Beverly Miller’s mind, an employee at Lebanon VA Medical Center, while driving to work Aug. 8. She slammed on her brakes, threw the car into park, opened the door and ran towards him.

The man, dressed in jogging attire, was lying face down on the road turning blue. A bystander desperately waived cars down while on her cell phone with 911. Miller’s years of training as a VA nurse kicked in. She flipped the man over, noted his bloody face indicating he had fallen, checked vitals, finding no pulse and began performing CPR.

For 15 minutes Miller performed chest compressions. Several bystanders told her they did not know CPR and were unable to assist her as exhaustion crept in. Finally, at about the15-minute mark, a man arrived and was able to provide a moment of relief. Then the ambulance arrived. The EMTs took immediate action, shocking his heart, then loaded him into the vehicle and sped to the WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital.

Miller watched the man being loaded into the ambulance and thought, I don’t think he’s going to make it. He still wasn’t breathing.

“After that I went home got cleaned up and headed into work,” said Miller, who had recently transferred from clinical care to an administrative position. “I was pretty low-key most of the day thinking about what happened.” She told only her close friends and coworkers. “I was worried about him,” she said.

Putting together the pieces
Michael Byrd regained consciousness in the hospital and had sore ribs. “I had no recollection of what happened,” he said. “It was like someone turned the lights out. I was like a tree, just fell over.” The hospital told him the story, and he wanted to find out the name of the woman who saved his life. Byrd’s wife wrote to a local newspaper that published a story about the mysterious good Samaritan. They also phoned the hospital and ambulance company.

For Miller’s part, she had also phoned the ambulance company and the hospital. To her delight, she found out the man had lived. She left her phone number with the ambulance company in case he reached out. Later, she saw the news story.

“I thought he would want to meet after I saw the news saying he was looking for me,” said Miller. “I was so happy he was OK and looking for me as well.” The two linked up and were able to meet at a local Italian restaurant with their spouses the following week.

“Something like this is a life-altering experience, especially for Bev,” said Byrd. And he knows better than anyone.

The rest of the story
More than forty years ago, Byrd was drafted and ending up serving in the U.S. Army from 1970-1972. He trained as a medic and was stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington D.C. In 1975, while in Tacoma, Washington, he saw a burning car with people in it. He ended up being first at the scene and pulled two boys from the car. He performed CPR on both until the ambulance arrived.

“When I got done, I was pretty sure the one boy had died but I did not know about the other one - just like Bev,” he said. He later found out the boy survived.

“You never forget something like that,” said Byrd. “You are trying to bring someone back to life.”

Byrd went on to become a successful businessman who employs more than 200 people at his company, Bake Crafters Food Company, and is a parent and grandparent.

Both Miller and Byrd want to raise awareness about CPR.
“It saves lives,” said Byrd. “Learn it and just as importantly be ready to be able to do it. Just like Bev did. She didn’t hesitate. In four minutes, I would have been dead and she saved me.”

Miller is modest about her actions.

“I’m just humbled by all the attention,” she said. “But, I do think this is an amazing story it goes full circle. Both of us have this unique experience and he’s a Veteran and I work at the VA. Truly I was at the right place at the right time”

To Byrd she is an incredible person. “This is an amazing thing,” he said, “Bev is a hero. When you save a life, you have no idea how many other lives you are impacting.”

If you are interested in learning CPR contact your local Red Cross or American Heart Association.


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