Nurses Honored for Saving Softball Player

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

July 6, 2005

You never know when your job requirements may be needed outside of work. A local softball player now owes his life to some helpful UVA nurses who found themselves in that situation.

"Dale's family holds the utmost respect and gratitude for these fine people. To Dale they are angels, to his family they are heroes," said a speaker at the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors meeting.

The heroes are nurses and EMS team members that were applauded and recognized by Albemarle County's board of Supervisors for their efforts in saving a man's life at the most unexpected time, on the softball field at Piedmont Virginia Community College.

The softball game had just begun. Dale Finke was only the second batter up. He hit a home run, but as he was rounding third base he never made it to home plate.

"The next thing I know he was faced down in the ground. He was all blue in the face," said Ann Harris, a Health and Physical Education major.

Ann Harris, who was playing on his team, gave him mouth to mouth. Then two UVA nurses from another team who had just finished their softball game performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

"When we got there he wasn't breathing and he was pulse-less," said Kara Conley, a UVA nurse.

That's why the nurses were shocked to find out that Finke, who suffered from cardiac sudden death, only took one week to fully recover.

"It's a true miracle that he is still with us and still alive," said Kristi Mann, a UVA nurse.

"We just couldn't believe it. It was an absolute miracle, we were at the right place at the right time to help sustain him," said Conley.

Finke has no recollection of his near death experience. "I have no memory of even being on the field," said Dale Finke.

Now almost 2 months later Finke has a built in heart difibulator just in case his heart begins to fail him again. However, he doesn't think that's likely to happen. He said there is a reason why he is alive today.

"To spend more time with my wife and kids," said Finke.

When asked if he is ever going to play softball again Finke had a one word response: "Absolutely!"

In fact, Finke said that he wants to play in his team's championship in just two weeks.

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