AdventHealth supply chain resident Michael Ciurea knew he was going into the water on a recent Saturday — he just didn’t know it would be a retention pond.
Ciurea was driving with Jeffrey Brownlow, a financial analyst for AdventHealth Global Missions, as the two made their way for a relaxing day at Ponce Inlet beach in Florida, United States. They saw the hazard lights of a parked car near Maitland Boulevard in Orlando. In just a few moments, they would be doing what countless caregivers at AdventHealth do every day.
The driver of the parked car pointed out to Ciurea and Brownlow that a silver-colored car had driven into a nearby pond and was completely submerged, with a man still inside. “From that moment on, I think just pure adrenaline kicked in, and it was just like, ‘Go,’” Ciurea said.
Already in swimming trunks, the two men threw off their shirts and jumped in, swimming down and back up in several attempts to unbuckle the man inside, unlock the car door, and bring him safely to shore.
“By that point, a couple of people had gathered, and we yelled out if anyone knew CPR,” Ciurea said. “I’ve taken the course, but confidence kind of goes out the window when you’re there.”
With one bystander offering to help, Ciurea and Brownlow pumped the man’s chest, kept his air passage open, and checked for a pulse until emergency medical personnel arrived. Not long after, the man, who was showing signs of life, was strapped to a gurney and driven to the hospital.
The two men said they didn’t know how the SUV got into the pond or if the elderly driver had survived. Two weeks after the incident, the man’s daughter contacted Ciurea and Brownlow.
After he spent weeks in the hospital, the woman said, her father had come back home.
“That was an emotional experience when she reached out,” said Ciurea, who guessed that just a couple more minutes underwater could have been the difference between life and death for the man.
Ciurea said he doesn’t think he’ll quit his day job in supply chain to become a caregiver anytime soon. He’s just happy to be of service, whether it’s in the office or on the road. It’s what drew him to work for AdventHealth in the first place.
“Being able to be used in any way is great, and to help out when needed, you just never know when,” he said. “God just knows where we need to be, and when we need to be there.”