Cardiac Nurse Lauren Huyvaert Reunites with Notre Dame Football Fan Whose Life She Saved

Cardiac Nurse Lauren Huyvaert Reunites with Notre Dame Football Fan Whose Life She Saved

Call it divine intervention or being at the right place at the right time, but cardiac nurse Lauren Huyvaert saved the life of a University of Notre Dame football fan last year during a game against UNLV. Recently, the two were reunited.

Daily Nurse honors Lauren Huyvaert, RN, a cardiac nurse at the Memorial Leighton Heart and Vascular Center in South Bend, Indiana, as the Nurse of the Week for jumping into action, performing CPR, and saving the life of Mike Brown, 77, when he became unresponsive at the football game.

Like most survivors of sudden cardiac arrest, Brown does not remember what happened when he lost consciousness at the game.

The day of the game in South Bend, Brown was seated with his daughter, Christa Brubaker, when she noticed his hand was cold and clammy, and when she felt his wrist, she didn’t feel anything. Her dad became unresponsive, so she called her husband, seated in another section, for help. That’s when she experienced divine intervention.

On the way to her seat, Huyvaert noticed an older man who had dozed off, and she thought to herself that he didn’t look very good. Huyvaert’s boyfriend asked if everything was okay, and Brubaker explained her dad was tired from having dental work done the day before. But minutes later, she overheard something alarming.

I can’t wake Dad up,” she heard someone say.

Huyvaert didn’t waste any time. She climbed over some people and calmly but confidently approached the family. “I’m a cardiac nurse. How can I help?”

She positioned herself directly in front of Brown and tried waking him up, but he did not respond, so she started firing questions at Brubaker.

Does he have any health conditions?

Is he a diabetic?

Has he had any cardiac issues?

Has he had anything to eat or drink today?

Not feeling a pulse, Huyvaert grabbed the man by the shoulders, laid him on the bench, and started CPR.

I need EMS right now,” she told the ushers, who had also rushed over.

Noticing how terrified Brubaker looked, the nurse hollered over to her family. “Help her,” she instructed them. She remembers how surreal it felt to do all this during a football game.

“It’s loud noisy, and the game doesn’t stop because things like this happen. The players on the field, the coaches, the refs, people on the other side of the stadium don’t know what’s going on,” says Huyvaert.

After first responders arrived, took over, and transported Brown to Memorial Hospital, Huyvaert sat beside her family.

Huyvaert emphasizes the importance of being CPR-certified.

“We see with this story that it saved a life, and we saw it last year in the NFL with Damar Hamlin,” she says. “Quick action saves lives. You’ll never know when you’ll be in this kind of situation. Even if you’re not a trained professional, you can still save lives. You can do what I did, too. Any life that is saved is a life lived.”

Huyvaert wondered if Brown survived and what had happened to him. Until they recently met again.

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Christa Brubaker, Lauren Huyvaert and Mike Brown are reunited. Photo credit: Beacon Health System

Brown is grateful to have been alive this past year for the two great-grandchildren who were born and to be attending his granddaughter’s wedding.

Does he believe in divine intervention? “Absolutely,” he says, looking at Huyvaert. “I believe in angels.”

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