August 16, 2022
Vanessa Soltani stood over a bloodied, unresponsive soldier at an Military hospital in Georgia, performing CPR whereas 9 different sufferers in adjoining rooms fought for survival.
A Sac State Nursing scholar and Military ROTC cadet who was perfecting strategies for drawing blood and inserting IVs throughout an internship at Fort Gordon, Soltani abruptly discovered herself responding to a mass casualty occasion after lightning bolts struck troopers throughout a coaching session.
As she pressed on her affected person’s chest in rhythmic movement, her colleagues buzzed across the trauma room, administering fluids, measuring very important indicators, and performing different emergency measures.
“I simply needed to avoid wasting this particular person,” Soltani recalled. “I needed to carry him again to life. That’s all I used to be fascinated by.”
Regardless of 45 minutes of intensive efforts by Soltani and her colleagues, the affected person died. However Soltani needed to comprise her feelings. She rapidly supplied her help treating the 9 others who had suffered severe accidents, together with burns.
The army is hailing Soltani as a hero whose fast and assured response proved critically necessary following the July 22 lightning strike.
“Her focus and compassion contributed to the Trauma Group’s saving of 9 lives,” the Military mentioned in a message that includes photographs of Soltani and despatched to army members. Her efficiency “demonstrates the training and coaching she has acquired as a nursing scholar and cadet at California State College, Sacramento,” the message mentioned.
First Lt. Eric Owens, who supervised Soltani throughout her internship at Fort Gordon’s Eisenhower Military Medical Middle, mentioned he by no means hesitated to name on her when tragedy struck.
“I knew she can be a useful resource to us,” Owens mentioned. “She was assured and competent. She knew what she was doing. She represented the Sac State Nursing Program and the Military Nurse Program very effectively.”
Soltani, who was born in Germany and attended highschool in Loomis, transferred into the Nursing program from Sierra Faculty and is on observe to graduate in Spring 2023. She is also a member of the campus ROTC program, one of many few Nursing college students to ever accomplish that. Her dream is to work in a busy emergency room or intensive care unit whereas additionally serving within the Military Reserve.
She couldn’t have anticipated she would get the possibility to deal with sufferers beneath equally nerve-racking situations throughout her monthlong summer season internship in Georgia, she mentioned.
Since she was a toddler, Soltani has been intrigued by medication. Her curiosity grew when she took anatomy and physiology programs in faculty.
“I’ve all the time been fascinated by how the human physique works, and its potential to heal,” she mentioned.
Soltani additionally was drawn to the construction and self-discipline of the army. The Military, she mentioned, helped her safe American citizenship and gave her a broad vary of thrilling and academic experiences.
“Touring, getting to fulfill individuals from all around the world, it’s one thing I very a lot admire,” she mentioned.
The fateful day
It was a damp, cloudy morning in Richmond County, Georgia, when Soltani reported to her shift on the ninth ground of the Fort Gordon’s hospital on July 22. Thunder rumbled within the distance.
After drawing blood for lab checks and performing different duties, Soltani and Owens have been engaged on affected person charts once they realized troopers conducting out of doors coaching workouts had been struck by lightning. Ten have been being transported to the hospital. All accessible personnel have been known as to the emergency division.
“Do you wish to go down there?” Owens requested Soltani. “Completely,” she mentioned.
“I introduced her as a result of she appeared like greater than a nursing scholar,” Owens mentioned. “It was like having considered one of our common nurses” on the scene, he mentioned.
Soltani volunteered to carry out chest compressions on essentially the most significantly injured soldier, who was in cardiac arrest.
“They introduced him in on a stretcher, and transferred him to a desk,” she recalled. “I jumped on a stool to succeed in him,” and began urgent on his chest as she had been educated to do. One other nurse breathed into his mouth and helped insert a tube into his throat. Others checked for a pulse or coronary heart rhythm.
“We labored on him for about 45 minutes” earlier than a health care provider pronounced him useless, Soltani mentioned. “We actually tried.”
A couple of minutes later, Soltani pivoted to adjoining rooms the place she helped docs and nurses tending to 9 different sufferers. She assisted with burn care, used an electrocardiogram machine to test coronary heart rhythms, and “did no matter I used to be requested to do,” she mentioned.
All the different sufferers survived.
“I’m going to recollect it for a protracted, very long time.” — Vanessa Soltani, Sac State Nursing scholar and ROTC member
Soltani returned to her common work station within the early night, exhausted however grateful for having contributed.
Information of her actions didn’t shock Maj. Marshall Angerman, considered one of her former ROTC instructors at Sac State.
“Cadet Soltani has all the time been and continues to be a extremely motivated and decided particular person academically, bodily and mentally,” Angerman mentioned. “The actions she displayed is what we glance to develop in all of our future Military officers by way of ROTC.”
Crispin Tipton, a medical Nursing professor at Sac State, attested to Soltani’s laborious work and willpower.
“I’m impressed along with her tenacity,” Tipton mentioned. “Vanessa is a pleasure to show. She absorbs what she is taught and might simply exhibit her data to her care of sufferers.
“I’m amazed by all that she does, and the way she maintains her general pleasure about nursing.”
As she prepares to return again to campus and full her diploma, Soltani is conscious of her work within the trauma room at Fort Gordon.
“I’m going to recollect it for a protracted, very long time,” she mentioned.
So, too, will Owens and the others who labored along with her on July 22.
“She’s positively reduce out to be an Military nurse,” mentioned Owens. “I’d be very happy to serve alongside her once more at some point.”