When Lauren Wirwille noticed a driver careen into a ditch, she didn’t hesitate to run to his aid. She’s an ER nurse, after all, trained to spring into action. Only it was a Sunday morning and Lauren was on the way to her bridal shower – wearing a white dress – and already running late.
Lauren’s mother was in the car too, and had noticed the man’s erratic driving moments before the crash at the corner of Kensington and Silver Lake roads in Green Oak Township.
“I had a feeling something was wrong when he was sitting at the stop sign. My first thought was, ‘Uh oh.’ I knew I had to get the guy,” Lauren said.
As soon as Lauren stopped the car, she yelled to her mom to call 9-1-1. Another passerby helped Lauren get the driver out of his minivan. She grabbed the face shield mask she keeps on her keychain and immediately began CPR on the man, who by this time was weak with no pulse.
“My training took over. It was like being at work, minus my awesome coworkers,” Lauren said.
A police officer arrived on scene minutes later, and helped Lauren until paramedics got there.
And when she finally made it to her bridal shower, Lauren said, her fiancé and friends received her with congratulatory applause.
But Lauren, who works the night shift in St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor’s emergency department, is quick to deflect the praise.
“If people tell me I’m a hero, I just tell them I was doing my job – in a dress!”
Word of Lauren’s heroic deed, of course, spread quickly and made the evening news.
“What happened was definitely meant to happen. I believe in God, and I believe he definitely put me where I needed to be,” Lauren told later told Ch. 7 reporter Kim Craig.
For a while after that fateful April day, Lauren’s colleagues would applaud whenever Lauren walked by.
“I found it pretty entertaining,” Lauren said, but she added that most of her coworkers would have done the same.
“I love to unplug and not think about work, but when a situation like that happens right in front of you, you have to act,” Lauren said.
“There was no one else around. I knew that if I did nothing, that man would die, and I wouldn’t have been able to live with that. That wasn’t a choice for me.”
No matter how “ordinary” Lauren thought her actions were, St. Joe’s felt they needed to be recognized. Lauren’s managers in the emergency department congratulated her in front of a group of 300 hospital leaders during their monthly meeting in May.
“I love that she feels she was meant to be there,” said Jennifer Dunn, director of emergency services at St. Joe’s.
As grateful as her colleagues are to have Lauren on their team, Lauren said they make St. Joe’s a remarkable place to work.
“I’ve never encountered such amazing teamwork. Everyone helps. The doctor are amazing and consider the nurses a valuable part of the team. The patient care technicians are the best I’ve ever worked with. It’s just an incredible place to work, and I’m grateful I get to be part of a remarkable team,” Lauren said.
Lauren married her fiancé in July and, though she was prepared for anything, she was happy to report she didn’t have to go into “emergency rescue mode” in this white dress.