Suburban Heroes: Six women together save a life at Mundelein store

Six people who helped save a woman experiencing cardiac arrest at a Mundelein store were honored publicly last week — and the person they aided was there, too.

Lorry Spencer, Kathleen Leathers, Angelena Townsend, Andreea Nisipeanu and Dina Hyland received citizen lifesaving awards from fire department leaders during Monday's Mundelein village board meeting. The sixth rescuer, Holly Barth, was unable to attend.

The women jumped to action Sept. 19 at Target, 3100 W. Route 60, when Lake Zurich resident Julie Rohrbach collapsed in a store bathroom stall.

Townsend, Nisipeanu and Barth are store supervisors, while Hyland is a nurse practitioner at the store's CVS MinuteClinic. Leathers worked at the Target, too, but she has since transferred to a different store.

The sixth rescuer, Spencer, is a Wisconsin resident who stopped at Target that day simply to use the bathroom en route to a dental appointment.

“For some reason I had a strong pull to go to Target,” Spencer said. “(I) went into the store and headed directly to the bathroom.”

That's where she saw Rohrbach.

“I guess I was meant to be there,” Spencer said.

Spencer got help from Leathers, Townsend and Hyland. They pulled Rohrbach out of the stall, turned her over and checked for a pulse. When they couldn't find one, they started chest compressions as part of CPR.

That effort got Rohrbach breathing again, Leathers recalled.

Hyland then shocked Rohrbach's heart with an automated external defibrillator she brought from the clinic.

Nisipeanu and Barth cleared the area of patrons and opened doors so paramedics could get their equipment to the patient quickly, Deputy Fire Chief Darren Brents said during the public ceremony.

Paramedics took over and took Rohrbach to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where she recovered.

“The collaborative efforts of these individuals resulted in the greatest of outcomes — a life saved,” Brents said.

Each of the rescuers received a framed certificate Monday. They also posed for photos with Rohrbach, Mayor Steve Lentz, fire department leaders and paramedics.

The ceremony was the first time Rohrbach spoke with her rescuers.

“It was very, very emotional,” Rohrbach said of the gathering. “I can't express my gratitude to them. I'm overwhelmed.”

Rohrbach said she has no memories of the fateful day in September.

“It's really a blessing that somebody came into the bathroom and found me,” she said.

Although she appreciates the recognition, Leathers, of Chicago, said meeting Rohrbach and seeing she's doing well really made her happy.

Hyland, of Schaumburg, called the lifesaving experience “amazing.”

“But I'm in a profession that that's what we do,” she said.

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