When Melody Burrell attended her son’s basketball tournament Saturday, she did not expect that her medical training would be needed to save a young man’s life.
“I just did what any parent would do,” said Burrell, who works as a nurse at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. “I see a kid in need and I just wanted to help.”
Burrell and her 15-year-old son were attending a tournament at Riverside Brookfield High School when a 16-year-old Chicago student suddenly collapsed on a court.
“I see him, he goes for the layup, he makes it. He’s running down, he’s almost past the bench then he just falls,” said Burrell’s son, Desmond Price.
Burrell told her son to call 911 as she rushed to the aid of Jermaine Cullum, a student at Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory High School.
An off-duty doctor also happened to be attending the event and ran to help Burrell.
“Looking at the patient we realize he was not breathing well and his pulse was not there so we started CPR,” said the physician Maurice Binns.
Neither Binns nor Burrell were able to get a pulse before paramedics arrived and rush Cullum to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.
“We he left the gym I wasn’t sure what condition he was in but I did know that it was something very serious,” Burrell said.
Paramedics managed to restore the teen’s pulse on their way to the hospital, and officials credited Burrell’s and Binn’s quick actions for saving the teen’s life.
“There is no question that the immediate response of the off-duty doctor and nurse played a crucial role in the fact that this young man is still alive,” Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said in a statement.
The teen was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit at Loyola University Medical Center and was last listed in critical condition.
“His father told me thank you, that it was a blessing that God had me in that right place at the right time to help his son,” Burrell said.