Manville Manor worker hailed for life-saving call

Manville Manor worker hailed for life-saving call

Eva Ferri, center, is thankful for Manville Manor maintenance worker Michael Nelson, right, and fellow resident Sharon Arnold, left, whose actions last month saved her life. (Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)

LINCOLN – Manville Manor maintenance technician Michael Nelson is a case study in paying attention to one’s surroundings and never dismissing a gut feeling about a potential crisis as someone else’s problem.

Eva Ferri, an eight-year resident of the Lincoln Housing Authority’s Manville Manor, has Nelson’s alertness and quick action to thank for still being alive.

On the Thursday before Christmas, Dec. 19, Nelson walked into Ferri’s apartment to put new batteries in her electronic door when he saw her in her bed. He said good morning and asked her what day it was, and her response made no sense.

Nelson, a Greenville resident, said he immediately realized he might need to call 911, so he ran to nearby resident Sharon Arnold’s apartment to tell her the situation didn’t feel right and asked her to come take a look. Arnold, who is friends with Ferri and has experience with observing the effects of diabetes, was able to quickly determine that Ferri hadn’t had a stroke, but knew something was wrong. She knew Ferri to be a diabetic and realized she might be suffering from a diabetic coma. Local fire and rescue personnel were called and quickly arrived. They found a packet of sugar and mixed it with a can of soda to get Ferri the blood sugar she needed.

“I could have been dead,” said Ferri of the scenario if Nelson hadn’t acted on what he was seeing and summoned Arnold to get her the treatment she needed to be revived before it was too late. She thanked both of them for acting so quickly.

Ferri, 82, remembers going into the bathroom and staying in there for some time because she wasn’t feeling well. She recalls hurrying to get into her bed, but doesn’t remember anything after that until the first responders were reviving her.

Doctors informed Ferri that if someone hadn’t intervened after she’d slipped into the diabetic coma, she would have died.

“In a time where everyone is always so busy and singularly focused, our entire office and the residents of Manville Manor are so glad that our community takes the time to care for one another and check in,” said Jessica Migneault, tenant services specialist at the Lincoln Housing Authority.

Nelson took a simple step, said Ferri, but she’ll forever be grateful that he cared enough to act. She said it’s not an action many people would have taken. She said her three children check on her once they get out of work, but that would have been far too late.

Manville Manor Executive Director Claudette Kuligowski said Nelson has earned quite a reputation for caring about those around him during his five years working here.

“He goes above and beyond what he’s required to do,” she said, noting the time he alerted a resident to the fact that her tire was flat and made sure she didn’t drive with it like that, or the time he took matters into his own hands and tracked down a dog.

“It seems like he’s always the angel,” she said. “That kind of stuff, he’s not required to do. We’re lucky.”

Arnold agreed, saying Nelson is always respectful and gets to know each resident personally.

Nelson is perfectly happy to accept such descriptions as “angel,” joking that he’d even accept “Jesus,” but he said he only did what everyone should do in such a situation. Too many people today are too absorbed in their phones or their own personal business to act on a small warning sign, he said, but taking action could be the difference between life and death.

Ferri said she learned a valuable lesson through the incident. A relatively new diabetes patient, she blamed the situation on a switch from a pill to insulin and not realizing that she had a small window to eat something after getting her shot. Knowing what she knows now, she said, she would know to pull the emergency cord in the bathroom next time instead of climbing into bed.