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Indianapolis nurse volunteering at poll site helps voter in need of medical attention

Colby Snyder was working at Lucas Oil Stadium when she noticed a woman in distress.

INDIANAPOLIS — No two days are the same as a surgical trauma unit nurse, according to surgical trauma nurse Colby Snyder, who works in the ICU at IU Health Methodist Hospital.  

“Car accidents, motorcycles, gunshots, the whole nine-yards,” said Snyder.  

A recent graduate, Snyder has been a nurse for about a year-and-a-half and said she always knew she wanted to go into a science-related field.  

“My mom was a nurse and my dad is a pediatric surgeon,” said Snyder.  

She said being a nurse in a surgical trauma unit was like nothing she had expected. 

“You have to be on your toes all the time,” said Snyder. “One second someone can be OK and three seconds later they’re coding."

Snyder typically works three 12-hour days on the nightshift. But she was looking for more ways to give back to others.  

“I just wanted to help,” said Snyder.  

So she decided to use her off days to volunteer at the polls for the 2020 general election. 

Credit: IU Health

She said she wanted to answer this year’s call for younger poll volunteers in light of seeing how the pandemic has impacted everyone, “especially the older population, which is usually the ones that do work the polls.” 

“I know there was a huge push for younger people to work this year, just to help protect that (elderly) age group. I don’t know, I just wanted to help wherever I could,” said Snyder.  

She said being involved has a lot to do with the current social climate. She said she also was involved with trying to help people register to vote.  

“It’s really on us, the younger generation, to push for change and create the world we want to live in,” said Snyder.  

She emphasized that this was important for people in or approaching their 30s who may be having small children soon, as well.  

After two hours of required training, Snyder showed up at Lucas Oil Stadium at 5 a.m. on Tuesday as a volunteer for Election Day.  

She said that because it was an early polling site, a lot of things were already set up. She and other volunteers “set up the iPads to create the ballots and scan the driver’s license to make sure people were who they said they were.”

But Snyder had no idea that morning that she would be doing far more than her civic duty on Election Day.  

“I heard a little bit of commotion but didn’t think anything of it and then I turned and saw someone sitting on the floor,” said Snyder.  

She said the female voter told Snyder she felt lightheaded and hadn’t eaten all day. Snyder said she got the woman some applesauce while asking her questions and trying to assess what health issues may have been occurring. 

Credit: IU Health

The voter then said “she wanted to lay down and was pretty shaky more than before and as soon as she went to lay back she went limp,” said Snyder. 

The woman wasn’t responsive, but had a pulse. Snyder tended to her until EMS arrived on the scene.  

But being at the right place at the right time seems to be a new habit of Snyder's, who jokingly said she’s not going out anymore. 

“This happened to me two weeks ago in Kroger,” said Snyder. 

She said she heard someone calling for help and found a man who was unresponsive.  

“He had labored breathing at first and then it stopped,” said Snyder. 

She said she started to administer compressions. 

“As soon as EMS was called, I knew they’d be there soon. But prior to them arriving, he started to breathe again,” said Snyder. 

Her actions show that she’s a woman of her words. She’s the type of person who moves through the world seeing how she can help others. 

“It would be selfish of me not to (help others). I have the training and a certain skillset,” said Snyder. 

She smiled bashfully when acknowledging the kind, supporting, praising, and encouraging remarks from her coworkers and peers for springing into action when someone was in need.  

“It’s strange to be getting all this acknowledgment because you don’t think you did anything special really,” she said smiling. 

For this healthcare hero, helping others is just another way she’s actively being the change she wants to see in the world.

(13News interviewed Colby Snyder via Zoom in a joint call with IU Health Public Relations.)

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