Kaite MacNevin struggled to believe what she’d just seen Tuesday afternoon.
MacNevin was driving on Highway 707 near the Myrtle Beach Golf and Yacht Club when she noticed it: a solitary foot sticking up from a roadside ditch. There wasn’t any movement.
“My 4-year-old daughter was in the back seat,” recalls MacNevin, a laboratory billing specialist for Tidelands Health. “She’s like, ‘No, it’s nothing, Mommy,’ but I said, ‘Mommy has to turn around.’”
Trusting her instincts, MacNevin managed to safely U-turn her car and circle back to the spot. Other cars continued to whiz by, their drivers apparently unaware of the foot.
Concerned her vehicle might be hit while she stopped along the busy road to investigate, MacNevin pulled two wheels over the curb, unbuckled her daughter and found a safe spot for the girl to wait away from traffic.
MacNevin will never forget what happened next.
A shocking discovery
“Basically, I saw a lifeless man lying halfway in the ditch and the sidewalk,” she says. “I also saw a bicycle; it was wrapped in his feet.”
Recognizing the gravity of the situation, MacNevin went into “fight or flight mode.”
“I decided to fight,” she says. “Normally, I would have curled up into a ball. This was totally out of character for me.
“My adrenaline was pumping.”
In March, MacNevin was recertifed in basic life support through Tidelands Health. She doesn’t need it for her role in billing, but she underwent the training so she could continue to periodically fill in as a phlebotomist, a previous role she enjoyed.
“Everything in that BLS class ran through my head,” she says. “It’s because of Tidelands Health I knew what to do.”
After donning gloves and grabbing a CPR mask from her car, MacNevin pulled the bicyclist from the ditch and began to assess his condition. He was injured, and she could feel no pulse. She immediately called 911.
A nurse in uniform happened to drive by, saw what was unfolding and pulled up to assist.
Grateful for the help, MacNevin quickly explained the situation and the two began working together to render aid.
MacNevin grabbed supplies from the nurse’s car including a pulse oximeter, a device that measures blood oxygen levels. It detected a pulse, and the man began to regain consciousness. MacNevin and the nurse continued to care for the man and keep him calm until an ambulance arrived a short time later to transport the bicyclist for care.
After recounting what happened to emergency personnel, she shared a hug with the nurse and took a moment to let the gravity of the situation sink in.
“I am very humbled to have helped someone,” MacNevin says. “I never thought I’d be in that situation – I’m a lab person, not a first responder.”
A moment to think
It was only after getting back in her car to drive away that MacNevin had time to consider how the incident might affect Lilly, her daughter.
If the girl’s initial response is any indication, she may be headed toward a career in medicine.
“My daughter got in the car and said, ‘I want to do that. How do I get to do that?’ She said, ‘Mommy, you were so calm!’
“I said, “Honestly, Lilly, I don’t know how that all happened.’”
In recognition of the aid she rendered, Tidelands Health President and CEO Bruce Bailey on Wednesday presented MacNevin with a “High Tide” award through the health system’s “Recognize. Reward. Redeem.” employee partner recognition program.
“Kaite went above and beyond to serve a member of our community,” Bailey wrote in recognizing MacNevin. “In Kaite’s own words, ‘All of my skills that were taught to me by our hospital paid off. I was able to save a life.’
“Way to go Kaite! You make us proud!”