Woman’s quick action saves life of state worker
Peggy Willis found her supervisor unconscious at his desk when she started work one morning. She was shocking his chest with a defibrillator minutes later.
Willis, a contract janitor at the Nevada Department of Information Technology, said she just tried to stay calm.
“I thought, ‘How many people get to shock their bosses before 7 o’clock in the morning?'” she said.
Fire Chief Stacey Giomi will give Willis a commendation this morning at the board of supervisors meeting for saving the life of Dennis Sannebeck, building supervisor for the Nevada Department of Information Technology, on Feb. 18.
Willis said the fire department later asked her what happened that morning when Sannebeck passed out because of an irregular heartbeat.
“They said, ‘What prompted you to do it?'” Willis said. “I said, ‘Well, he was there and I had to vacuum.'”
Willis said she and Sannebeck greeted each other walking into work that morning. She saw him next slumped over his desk.
She directed other employees to start CPR and call paramedics while she got the building’s defibrillator.
Sannebeck said he only remembers walking into work that day and waking up in the hospital two weeks later.
“It’s just amazing to me, the sequence of events,” he said. “I mean, if she wouldn’t have vacuumed that morning ” it’s amazing. One minute later I wouldn’t be sitting here.”
Sannebeck showed the scar on his chest where the hospital put in an automatic defibrillator in case his heart stops again.
“That’s his Maserati,” Willis said.
Kevin Baily, a Nevada Department of Information Technology building engineer, called what Willis did “stunning.”
“Somehow she had the emotional stability to go for the defibrillator,” he said. “She went and got it, set it up and got guys to do CPR on Dennis while she was getting that.”
Baily said what was most amazing was what Willis did after she saved Sannebeck’s life: She finished the rest of her day at work.