Janet Bento-Murray has always taken pride in not missing a day of work.
And it was that dedication that may well have saved the life of the 70-year-old ophthalmology technician at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute's Palm Beach Gardens location as on June 21 Bento-Murray lost consciousness due to a heart condition and had to be resuscitated by her co-workers.
"The planets were aligned," said Bento-Murray, who credits being alive with going to work that day as well as co-workers trained in CPR and an automated electronic defibrillator (AED) on hand. "It was amazing to say the least. I was the poster child for going to work. If I was home, it wouldn't have been the same."
The team at Palm Beach Gardens has a close-knit, family-like working relationship so when Bento-Murray first exhibited light-headedness and blurred vision that morning, the team responded.
Tyler Delavalla, a fellow ophthalmology technician, and Kirsten Rossi, a LASIK coordinator, sat by her side for about an hour and took her blood pressure, which was unusually low. Rossi said Bento-Murray then stood up, took a few steps, and collapsed. When she saw that Bento-Murray had no pulse, Rossi immediately started CPR and called for help.
Delavalla and fellow co-worker Maria Dann, senior patient access representative, had just completed Bascom Palmer's CPR training about a week before the incident and they too were instrumental in helping Bento-Murray. When she collapsed, Dann quickly retrieved the AED and called 911. Rossi administered electric shock with the AED, and Delavalla helped perform chest compressions until she had a pulse.
"I was happy to be there and I'm just really grateful that I was at the right place at the right time," said Rossi, who is also a nursing student and was certified in CPR in February 2020. "It's a family. We all look out for each other."
Bento-Murray and her co-workers were all recognized by Eduardo Alfonso, M.D., director of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, at the team’s monthly huddle on July 7.
"I'm in awe of the incredible and heroic work that our team in Palm Beach Gardens did to save her life," Alfonso said. "You all represent the best of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and the best of UHealth."