Above the Call: Vacationing CDCR nurse saves man at airport

While at the airport, Nurse Gloria Cano performed CPR on a man who collapsed.

While at the airport, Nurse Gloria Cano performed CPR on a man who collapsed.

By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor, OPEC
Photo by Lt. Kelli Madsen, AA/PIO, Ironwood SP

While returning from a vacation to New York for her birthday, Ironwood State Prison Registered Nurse Gloria Cano ended up performing CPR on a man who collapsed at the airport.

In December, Nurse Cano was celebrating her birthday with friends and coworkers by traveling to New York. While on the return trip, the group was waiting for pickup at the San Diego International Airport.

A middle-aged man walked by them rolling two small suitcases and carrying a backpack. When he was about 10 feet behind the group, he collapsed.

“As we all turned in shock, I watched Ms. Cano rush into action without hesitation,” writes AGPA Alexsia Rincon in a report on the incident. “Within seconds, she arrived at this man’s side and began checking vitals and attempting to communicate with him. The man was not conscious and did not appear to have a pulse.”

For Nurse Cano, it was the right thing to do.

“At the time I just thought we needed to help this guy. I couldn’t just let him lay there,” she said. “It was my natural reaction as a nurse to help someone.”

The rest of the group called 911 and tried to summon airport staff. Meanwhile, Nurse Cano removed the man’s backpack, turned him over onto his back and started CPR.

Between chest compressions, she continued trying to speak to him and rubbed his arms and legs to try to get a response. He was bleeding from a large gash on his forehead.

When airport staff arrived, they ordered everyone to get back. Nurse Cano continued compressions. Finally, the man moved his arm and tried to speak but was incoherent.

“I felt a little anxious (about the whole situation) but once we got him the help he needed, I definitely felt joy,” she said.

She credits CDCR with preparing her for such a situation outside of an institution.

“I would say my CDCR training came into play. Many times we are first-responders on the scene (in a prison),” she said. “Working in the Triage and Treatment Area, as a first-responder, definitely helped. Also, I worked in the hospital for four years, which helped as well.”

A police officer arrived and took over the situation. Nurse Cano asked the officer if he needed any more help. He said the ambulance was nearby so she was free to leave.

“Without seeking any type of recognition, Ms. Cano proceeded into our vehicles that had arrived during the incident and our group continued on to our destination,” Rincon writes. “We did not learn why the man had collapsed but without a doubt, he was fortunate to have RN Cano nearby in his crisis.”

She said recognition was not on her radar.

“It was pretty much like a day at the office for me. I don’t really like attention. I’m more of a mellow, laid back kind of person,” she said. “We did what we could while we were there and then it was time for me to go. I think if I look back on it, I would do it all over again.”


28 Responses

  1. PBattle Wednesday, March 22, 2017 / 9:31 am

    He was so lucky! God Bless

  2. Becky Dolaghan Wednesday, March 15, 2017 / 3:17 pm

    One more example of what it means to reach out in kindness to someone in need, thank you for most likely saving this gentleman’s life. Time is of essense when it comes to CPR.

  3. Gundeep Sekhon Monday, March 13, 2017 / 2:59 pm

    A perfect piece of inspiring news on a Monday ! Bravo ! You make us proud !

  4. Karen Dawson Sunday, March 12, 2017 / 8:01 am

    That’s wonderful, you were there at the right time.

  5. Andreanna Cano Saturday, March 11, 2017 / 1:54 pm

    Great job Gloria Cano. That’s amazing. Keep up the great work!

  6. R.Castillo Thursday, March 9, 2017 / 2:07 pm

    Awesome job, Glo! I knew you would be a good nurse. Awesome job.

  7. rod Thursday, March 9, 2017 / 12:08 pm

    He was blessed to have you there. You saved a life, when many would not have had the clear head to do so. You are awesome!

  8. Andrew Nolder Wednesday, March 8, 2017 / 4:41 pm

    One more thing, I see you’re rocking the Omni cell there. Once again congrats on your heroics.

  9. Andrew Nolder Wednesday, March 8, 2017 / 4:38 pm

    That story put a big lump in my throat….I tried to put myself in her place and I got nervous and anxious. Much respect to you Nurse Cano and well deserved recognition. Just maybe your boss will give you some time off…lol. Take care.

  10. Jacqueline Johnson, MSW Tuesday, March 7, 2017 / 5:10 pm

    So good to know that CDCR has such excellence among our staff. You are a true hero young lady. Congratulations!

  11. C.M.Perlow Tuesday, March 7, 2017 / 12:51 pm

    Awesome job. We need more people like Ms. Cano in this world.

  12. sunnikharley@cdcr.ca.gov Tuesday, March 7, 2017 / 10:35 am

    I think I got something in my eye.
    Beautiful and heart tugging.

  13. Marlon Tuesday, March 7, 2017 / 9:51 am

    You are the very best Ms. Cano!

  14. Valerie Estrella Tuesday, March 7, 2017 / 9:46 am

    Good job doing the right thing. You are a true hero and Earth Angel.

  15. E. DUARTE JR. Tuesday, March 7, 2017 / 7:11 am

    Right on! Outstanding.

  16. M. Robb Tuesday, March 7, 2017 / 6:28 am

    Awesome work, Nurse Cano! I am very happy you were at the right place at the right time. God bless you.

  17. Gloria Cano Monday, March 6, 2017 / 11:27 pm

    This recognition was a total surprise, I was not expecting it. I am so honored and surprised. It never crossed my mind that this event would make it to Inside CDCR news. Like I said before I would do it all over again for anyone in crisis. I am blessed to be a nurse and make a difference. I am grateful to be a part of an amazing team at Ironwood State Prison. Thank you all for your beautiful compliments. May god bless you!

  18. TJ Monday, March 6, 2017 / 4:01 pm

    I knew I was working with the ‘A’ team! It’s a privilege.

  19. jodi Monday, March 6, 2017 / 11:27 am

    Thank you Ms. Cano for being a great humanitarian. Arthur Ash wrote, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” You did a great service to help that man. Thank you so much.

  20. S. Hill Monday, March 6, 2017 / 11:23 am

    Nurses rock! God bless you for helping.

  21. Monica Romero Monday, March 6, 2017 / 10:41 am

    You are amazing! Bless your heart.

  22. Matthew Koop Monday, March 6, 2017 / 10:37 am

    Well done, Nurse Cano! Kudos for being somebody’s blessing that day.

  23. Abel A. Fosten Monday, March 6, 2017 / 10:31 am

    Way to go, Ms. Cano! You help make the world a better place for all of us. Many blessings.

  24. Alexsia Rincon Monday, March 6, 2017 / 10:30 am

    It is great to see this deserving individual receive recognition. Nurse Cano I am proud of you and CDCR is indeed fortunate that you are part of our team. It was a scary moment, but after our flight being cancelled, redirected, delayed and almost 24 hours of being awake, THIS MOMENT made us appreciate the fact that sometimes, although we don’t understand right away, we are placed in a moment at the right time for a purpose. I will never forget how you jumped into action without a second of hesitation and saved that man.

  25. Dr. B. Monday, March 6, 2017 / 10:25 am

    Well done! It is great when our every day skills are witnessed by the outside population and seen as extraordinary. Hopefully it is nice to get some recognition, as well as personally feel good about it, for your good work even if you don’t like attention.

  26. Charlene Monday, March 6, 2017 / 10:01 am

    Bless your heart.

  27. Rina Monday, March 6, 2017 / 9:38 am

    Awesome job, Nurse Cano! We are so blessed to have people like you in this world.

  28. Diana Viale Monday, March 6, 2017 / 9:29 am

    Great job, Ms. Cano! We are definitely lucky to have you on the CDCR team. You are a hero.

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