F&S, UIPD help save a life

Aug 04, 2021

Brian Barto (water station), Lucas Burton, and Bryan Helfrich (carpenters) recently exhibited calm and grace under pressure when they provided assistance to another F&S employee, Vinh Nguyen, who was experiencing a life-threatening health emergency. Their quick action allowed emergency personnel to get to the scene quickly to administer life-saving techniques and transport to the hospital.900x600 Website (18)

On June 28, while driving in an F&S truck on campus, Nguyen lost consciousness near the intersection of Illinois Street and Goodwin Avenue in Urbana. Barto, the passenger, managed to direct the truck out of the oncoming lane and to the edge of the road and stopped just outside Burrill Hall, all without endangering any nearby pedestrians or parked cars. Barto couldn’t even safely reach the brake pedal from his seat, but Nguyen’s foot was in the right place to help the vehicle slow down to a stop.

After exiting the vehicle and going around to the driver’s side to check on Nguyen, Barto requested a passerby assist the situation by calling 911. Attracted by the commotion by happenstance, Burton and Helfrich made the scene and helped to get Nguyen out of the truck and flat on the sidewalk, and started first aid under the direction of the 911 dispatcher.

University of Illinois Police Department (UIPD) officers Jason Bradley and Rodney Mitchell were on the scene within about a minute of the 911 call, and they offered more advanced aid before Nguyen was transported to the hospital.

Together their quick actions saved a life and set an excellent example for the care of a coworker and fellow human being. After his recovery, Nguyen is feeling well and is back at work. After his return, a small reception was held to honor and congratulate all involved. One of his first actions was to recognize those who helped him in a time of need.

“I and my family are forever grateful to everyone who was involved in saving my life that day, especially to Brian for his quick response to my medical emergency and for his leadership, professionalism and calmness he displayed in the midst of what must have been a very stressful and chaotic situation,” Nguyen wrote in a thank-you and employee recognition letter to F&S leaders.