It happened too fast to think —
A man’s life hangs in the balance; and a nurse, exhausted after a long hospital shift, must act quickly, must be the first to respond. In a moment when the line between life and death begins to blur, Laurie (Clifford) Fox ’93 can’t afford to mull over her options, to even consider if she should help. Call it instinct. Call it a heart too wide to pass by a stranger in need. Or call it what it is — heroism.
We could begin this tale at the scene of the accident, when Laurie (Clifford) Fox ’93 watched in disbelief as a motorcyclist was struck by an SUV, and she rushed into action without hesitation. But the story really begins long before that traumatic evening in October 2003. It has its root in Laurie’s days as a Messiah College nursing student, when she once heard an instructor say, “You’re not just a nurse at your 8-, 10-, or 12-hour-a-day job; you’re a nurse always. On the outside, when you are shopping, someone might have chest pain. You may need to deliver CPR.” Little did Laurie and her professor know then that what seemed like a simple remark at the time would prepare her to one day save a man’s life.
During her twilight commute, Laurie had been driving home on a busy highway from her job at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, N.H. She had already begun to mentally wind down after a 12-hour shift in the Same Day Program at DHMC, where she provides pre- and postoperative care for patients undergoing surgery.
As her car climbed a hill, she watched in disbelief as an oncoming Harley-Davidson, which had stopped to make a turn, was slammed from behind and crushed by a white SUV. The high-speed collision wedged the motorcycle into the grill of the SUV and flung the cyclist directly into Laurie’s path. “The first thing I noticed,” Laurie told the Connecticut Valley Spectator (CVS), “was his helmet came flying at me and hit part of my car. He toppled over onto the hood of the SUV and was thrown,” Laurie continued. “He basically landed right in front of my car. I swerved so I wouldn’t hit him. He landed right in the middle of Route 4.”
In a split second, the desperate plea for a medical professional blared over her fatigue, fulfilling her professor’s words. She had an immediate decision to make. Or perhaps, no decision at all. Instinct took over, and Laurie rushed to the aid of the critically injured cyclist, Dmitri Lurie, a mechanic at Twin States Harley-Davidson.
Dmitri’s breath was shallow, blood was gushing from his mouth, and he was unresponsive. From her car, Fox pulled a first aid kit—purchased after graduating from Messiah, with the professor’s statement in mind. The kit included a CPR airway, which she used to force her life-giving breath into Dmitri’s lungs and to quell the flow of his extensive bleeding. For ten years, Laurie had kept the CPR kit tucked away in her car, always thinking that she just might need it some day.
“Without God, I wouldn’t have been able to do something like this,” Laurie says. “After working 12 hours, I was pretty fried. When there was a need, God just really helped me have the strength to do what I needed to do.”