Nurse who lost arm in boat propeller accident says ICU training helped save her own life




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A New Jersey nurse who lost her right arm in a tragic swimming accident when she came into contact with a boat propeller said her professional instincts took over as she began instructing her friends on what to do, potentially helping to save her own life.

Kristina Dejesus, 32, told SWNS she was on a trip to Texas with friends in Oct. 2017 when the group took a boat out on Lake Travis in Austin. Tragedy struck as the group fought against the current, and she realized her friends were panicking.

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Dejesus said she didn’t realize that she had lost her limb until she was pulled from the water by two witnesses who had military experience.

“I’m an ICU nurse and I knew I had to lie flat with my legs up and put pressure on my wound,” she told SWNS. “It was at this point I realized I didn’t have an arm. I couldn’t believe it. I was lucky because my wound was not bleeding heavily. My artery had been kinked and it was a clean cut.”

Dejesus, pictured with her husband, said she instructed the boat's occupants to apply pressure to her wound and elevate her legs as they raced her to the lake's dock to an awaiting ambulance. 

Dejesus, pictured with her husband, said she instructed the boat’s occupants to apply pressure to her wound and elevate her legs as they raced her to the lake’s dock to an awaiting ambulance.  (SWNS)

Recognizing the severity of the situation, Dejesus said she instructed her friends to put pressure on her wound while she was taken to an ambulance waiting on shore, and then airlifted to Dell Seton Medical Center for emergency surgery.

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“I went into surgery and when I woke up I was intubated, sedated and on life support,” she told SWNS.

She was eventually transferred home to New Jersey where she underwent weeks of physical and occupational therapy and received a myoelectric-controlled prosthetic arm. She has since resumed working at Overlook Hospital.

She now has a myoelectric-controlled prosthetic arm, and has since returned to her job at a New Jersey hospital.

She now has a myoelectric-controlled prosthetic arm, and has since returned to her job at a New Jersey hospital.

Dejesus, who has learned to cope with the help of her husband, even returned to the lake with her friends on the one-year anniversary of her accident to gain closure, and celebrated life with those who helped save her.

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“Being an ICU nurse definitely saved my life and has given me a perspective on life,” she told the news outlet. “Things could have been much worse and I could have lost my life in that lake.”

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