Recent Pacific Lutheran University grad and Army nurse saves life at Applebee's

By Melissa Renahan on June 17, 2014

What started out as a night off from work quickly turned into a life-saving mission when three Army medical professionals prevented a female diner from choking at a restaurant in Radcliff, Ky. June 7.

"We went to Applebee's as a group and we were about to watch the last race of the Triple Crown ... but then during the race we overheard someone say ‘is that person choking' and so we all began to look around," explained 2nd Lt. Jordan Flynn, an Army nurse who recently graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with his commission. Knox is stationed at Fort Knox for the summer to provide medical support for the Leader Development and Assessment Course.

"We saw her husband giving her the Heimlich but he wasn't successful so we ran over to help," he continued.

2nd Lt. Kelby Tidey, another nurse, as well as Col. Brian McGlinch, an Army physician who was at the restaurant separately, joined Flynn.

"We managed to keep the others diners back and then we put her on the floor and I took over the Heimlich," he recounted. "Just as she was about to pass out, I was able to get the object free and as she passed out we could hear her air getting through."

By the time the paramedics arrived, the patient was awake and alert and able to walk onto the ambulance.

The general manager of the Applebee's, reportedly walked out of the restaurant's backroom to find the rescue underway and was amazed at how quickly the three men reacted and got the situation under control. 

In fact, according to a statement from McGlinch, if the pair had not taken over the patient would have entered cardiac arrest before the ambulance arrived. He credits the Army nurses' training and experience with the save. Both Flynn and the other nurse will receive Army Achievement Medals for their heroic actions.

"It was an intense moment but we weren't thinking about anything but the patient," Flynn stated. "You get tunnel vision and nothing else really matters at that point."

Flynn, who is a Pacific Northwest native, knew that he wanted to do something in the medical field and once he learned that he was able to get an ROTC scholarship and go to PLU, his path was clear.

In August, Flynn will head to San Antonio for a few months of training and then move onto his first official duty assignment at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii.