Another concerned driver, who had a cell phone, called 911 while Laurie worked tirelessly to keep Dmitri breathing. “I kept telling him, ‘Buddy, hold on, they’re gonna be here any minute,’” Laurie told CVS. “I was trying to support him as much as I could. I was never involved in a trauma before. I’m not an ER nurse, so I’m not used to that.”
When the ambulance finally arrived to transport Dmitri to the hospital, Laurie was left standing in the bloody aftermath. Concerned about possible blood contamination, she initially returned to the hospital for tests, but the night had begun to wear on her, so she simply went home. “It was a long night, about 9:30 when I got home,” Laurie told CVS. “I just wanted to go to bed, but, of course, I couldn’t. . . . I never realized how your mind depicts everything when you’re involved in a trauma. I could tell you the sequence of how everything happened, play by play.” And to this day, nearly two years later, the memory still brings tears to her eyes— tears of understanding, perhaps.
“Life is so precious. I don’t think everyone realizes how quickly things can change in your life. I had this connection to Dmitri’s family instantly,” explains Laurie, who has lost two children of her own—one to miscarriage and another to infection soon after birth. “Saving a life is the most amazing thing,” she says. “There couldn’t possibly be a greater gift. Dmitri’s parents visit me when he has appointments at the hospital. I instantly cry when I see him—it’s just so amazing.”
Although Dmitri suffered severe brain damage, his progress has been nothing short of miraculous. Early signs suggested that he wouldn’t survive, but Laurie, who believes God led her to that place to save his life, prayed for him, and the healing quickly followed. Soon, he started to walk, then talk, finally managing to complete full sentences. “The last time I saw him he was holding onto his mother’s arm for support, but he was walking. Every time I see him he looks better,” Laurie says. “Actually, the last time I saw him, he was playing cards with his folks. I don’t know that he’ll ever be able to live on his own. . . . But he’s making progress, so that’s very hopeful.”
For her life-saving bravery, Laurie was named a Nurse Hero by the American Red Cross and the journal Nursing Spectrum, at an award ceremony held in Washington, D.C., on December 9, 2004. Only 10 nurses from across the United States receive this honor each year. Laurie, who was nominated by coworkers, also received overwhelming support from Dmitri’s parents, who call Laurie their son’s “angel.” In support of Laurie’s nomination, Konstantin and Sonia Lurie, Dmitri’s parents, wrote, “Laurie Fox is the person who saved our son’s life. . . . You who will read this letter will surely understand that no words will ever be able to express our feelings toward Laurie. Through the rest of our lives we shall be indebted to her for a heroic deed that rescued our son.”
But while others recognize the tremendous good deed that Laurie performed, she still considers it just part of being a nurse. “I wouldn’t think twice about helping anyone in need,” she says. “The Lord wouldn’t turn his back on anyone who needed help. I wouldn’t either.”