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Her CPR training probably saved a life

Published Sep. 13, 2005

Dianne Walker, a veterinarian's technician who also knows how to help human beings, probably saved a life two weeks ago.

Walker was at her job at the Florida Veterinary Clinic on April 13 when she looked out the window and saw a car pull up, half on the sidewalk and half in the street. She went outside, looked in the car window and saw a woman.

"As soon as I looked in, I was like, oh my gosh, she isn't breathing. I could tell right away. Her lips were turning blue." She also felt for a pulse in the woman's neck and could not feel one.

With the help of "a couple of guys," Walker got the woman out of the car.

"One of them said, "We can't just pull her out on the road.' I said, "Oh yes, we can,' " Walker recalled.

She started CPR, using chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing.

A St. Petersburg fire rescue team arrived quickly, Walker said, and used a defibrillator machine to revive the woman, who had had a heart attack.

"I'm certain that once she got that (CPR) going, that's what made the difference," said paramedic Pete Grasso, who responded with the rescue team.

"I was reacting to events," Walker said. "I've never been put in a panic situation before, so it was all very traumatic."

Walker, who turns 35 today, said she received emergency medical technician training at Hillsborough Community College, where she is now enrolled in a program to become a registered nurse. A Tampa resident, she has been a veterinarian's technician for 10 years and worked since November at the Florida Veterinary Clinic, 8500 Fourth St. N.

"The reason I want to become a nurse is that I like helping people. And I think we should all help each other out more," she said.

Mildred Nelson, 52, whom Walker helped revive, couldn't be reached. She was released from Northside Hospital on Thursday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Walker liked that news.

"I feel really good," she said. "The odds to have somebody survive from that I guess are kind of low. So I just feel really lucky that all the events just fell into place and that she's still going to be around. It makes me really happy."

Grasso liked it, too. "That really makes my day," said the 17-year paramedic.

On Wednesday, Fire Lt. Joe Bruni and other members of the department's Rescue No. 7 team gave Walker an award at the veterinary clinic.