Suburban Hero: Nursing student in right place at right time

  • Schaumburg resident and nursing student Rachel Ripoli helped a man having a seizure in November.

    Schaumburg resident and nursing student Rachel Ripoli helped a man having a seizure in November. Courtesy of Rachel Ripoli

Updated 12/15/2018 5:16 PM

Talk about the right person being in the right place at the right time.

Schaumburg resident and certified nursing assistant Rachel Ripoli was eating lunch with her mother at Pop's Pizza and Sports Bar in Roselle last month when another patron had a medical emergency.


"My mom and I had just gotten our food when we both heard a chair scraping against the floor," said the 21-year-old Ripoli, who's seeking a nursing degree at Chamberlain University in Addison. "I (got) up from my seat to see if any one needed my help and that was when I saw the man on the floor."

Moments later, the man suffered a seizure -- and Ripoli ran over and jumped to action. She asked some of the other customers to help put the man on his side in what's called a recovery position.

She asked another patron for a jacket to put under the man's head to prevent him from hitting his head against the floor.

"After that it was just a matter of waiting for the seizure to finish," Ripoli said. "When he had stopped seizing, it took him a few minutes to come to again."

Ripoli asked the man some standard orientation questions, like his name, age and address. The man said he had a history of seizures and was being treated for them.

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"At that time, I turned him from his side onto his back to make sure he was more comfortable," Ripoli said.

She tried to keep the man calm until paramedics from the Roselle Fire Department arrived and took over treatment.

"When they got there, I let them know what the man's name was, about how long we thought his seizure was, that he had hit his head, and that he has had a history of seizures," Ripoli said.

The paramedics took the man to Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village, the department's report indicates.

Ripoli is happy she could help.

"It's just a part of the field to be able to respond and help others when they are in need," she said. "Just about everyone that was there (came) up to me to thank me or tell me that I did a good job."

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