DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The quick thinking of a hospital worker helped save the lives of a Dayton family. Media General contributors spoke with all of them, including, the worker now being hailed a hero for following her instincts.
Tamra McCuiston says she woke up a few weeks back with an awful migraine, an upset stomach, and little memory of what happened. That’s when she went to the emergency room and discovered it was much more serious than she could’ve ever imagined.
Tamra McCuiston describes the moment when she knew something just wasn’t right.
“I was not feeling good,” McCuiston said. “I just didn’t feel good. I had chest pains and I was sweating really bad.”
Rhonda Thomas Howard–a patient access clerk at Miami Valley Hospital–says she was determined to find out just what was wrong with McCuiston.
“She couldn’t remember anything,” Thomas Howard said. “Her stomach was hurting. She was very nauseated. She kept saying she’s couldn’t remember anything and that’s when I stated into my proactive mode.”
When she put the pieces together and realized it was likely CO poisoning, the hospital immediately alerted 911, and safely removed McCuiston’s son and father from the home, which was later tested showing high levels of carbon monoxide.
Thursday, McCuiston was reunited with her family’s true hero.
“I’ll hug her all day long,” McCuiston said. “Yes, yes, yes. She’s one in a million. She’s a hero.”
“It has been very humbling,” Thomas Howard said. “It was an experience.”
“If it wasn’t for Rhonda. I wouldn’t be here today,” McCuiston said. “And it’s so important for people to have detectors in their house… maybe 2 or 3 because I never smelt anything. I was in denial. I almost didn’t come to the hospital.”
Officials say McCuiston came to the hospital at just the right time. If there had been any pets or small children they says they likely wouldn’t have made it. For more information on carbon monoxide and how you can stay safe, see this link.