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Menorah Medical Center reunites three nurses who saved fellow KCI passenger's life

The event will recount the dramatic moments following a medical call for urgent help and how CPR and AED shocks saved a man's life.

February 23, 2024
Three nurses smile while talking with each other in the hospital.

Overland Park, Kan. — An urgent call for medical help over the airplane’s intercom during boarding on Oct. 21, 2023, alerted two Menorah Medical Center ICU nurses and close friends bound for Las Vegas to help a fellow passenger needing CPR, chest compressions, and a defibrillator to be brought back to life. Leawood residents Jim and Kathy Grasser were heading to Las Vegas when Jim suddenly collapsed on the jetway bridge.

Meghan Pope, RN, manager of 50 caregivers in Menorah’s CCU (Critical Care Unit) and Telemetry, and Ellyssa Coble, RN, director of Menorah’s Clinical Nursing Operations, jumped into action. Pope immediately started chest compressions while Coble “ran the code” and helped keep other passengers at bay and away from the passenger.

As Pope became concerned that CPR was not enough for Grasser, another passenger shouted that she had an AED and could lend assistance. When Pope heard the fellow passenger’s voice, she couldn’t believe her ears and then eyes as Menorah Medical Center colleague and patient care technician Jamie Glynn sprinted toward the harrowing scene.

Without missing a beat, Pope and Glynn began working in tandem, completing one round of compressions and administering an AED shock, which brought the patient back to life. Shortly after, EMS arrived and transported Grasser to the nearest hospital where he received medical attention for an unknown and life-ending heart and valve defect.

Pope and Coble started their Menorah Medical Center ICU careers during the same month nearly 10 years ago. Their relationship was solidified when they realized they were woven from the same cloth and shared the same passion for learning and growing as nurses: they were their best selves when working together, caring for the most vulnerable and critical patients. The nursing duo became so in sync during Code Blues that they were appointed leaders on the Menorah Medical Center Code Blue committee for special projects and process improvement for the hospital.

These shared experiences would be critically important years later when Pope and Coble settled into their KCI boarding area. Anxious to depart for a short vacation, they were instead summoned to Grasser’s aid during a life-threatening situation.

“This is a day we have looked forward to since the day Jim collapsed,” said Kathy, Jim’s wife. “His journey to recovery has been longer than we expected, so after all of these months, to meet and thank ‘Jim’s Three Angels’ will be especially meaningful. Nurses often get overlooked for all of their hard work. Today is about recognizing them, and shining a positive light on caregivers in the healthcare field.”

“We look forward to seeing Jim again, and letting he and his wife Kathy know how happy we are that he’s alive,” said Menorah Medical Center ICU leader Meghan Pope. “The three of us have known each other for so long, which makes this so special. Although we had no idea Jamie was on our flight, it’s not surprising to me that she would step forward with the life-saving AED. What we did that day is something we do daily. We don’t consider ourselves heroes — we were in the right place at the right time.”

“Honoring our compassionate caregivers is such an honor,” said Menorah Medical Center CEO Phil Buttell. “To host this reunion during Heart Month, while also educating our community on the importance of learning CPR, makes it all the more special. I’m so proud of our three caregivers and know this day will have tremendous meaning for everyone in the room.”

Menorah Medical Center is part of HCA Midwest Health, Kansas City’s largest healthcare provider. Learn more about the services provided at Menorah Medical Center on their website.

Marketing Contact for Press Releases

Chris Hamele

February 23, 2024
Menorah Medical Center

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