Registered nurse Glenna Miller figures she was just in the right place in Bradenton Beach at the right time around 5 p.m. Thursday, March 15.
She and husband Phillip were walking on the beach near the Gulf Drive Cafe when she heard some screaming, “I’ve been bitten.”
She turned to see a young man running out of the water with blood pouring from his ankle. The man stumbled and fell, and Miller’s medical training took over.
Realizing the man was losing a lot of blood, she quickly applied a tourniquet with a handkerchief, told her husband to call 911, and asked someone in the crowd for a larger piece of clothing to use as a tourniquet. A large T-shirt was provided.
“There was a lot of blood. I had to get a larger tourniquet on him for more pressure. I wasn’t sure what had happened, but he had been wading in shallow water, and the medics later said it appeared he got the barb of a stingray right in a vein or artery,” Miller said.
Emergency medical staff arrived within five minutes, Miller said, and treated and transported the injured man to Blake Medical Center.
While that was certainly Miller’s good Samaritan act for the day, it was not the end of the story for her and the young man she helped.
The next day, she and her husband were walking in the same area about the same time when they heard people from a nearby condominium calling for them to come over.
“We went to the condo, and we knew Bob Coswell, who was there. He said the college student had come by and said if he ever saw the nurse who saved his life, he was to give her this,” Miller said.
The young man had provided a thank you card and a pot of flowers for Miller, even though he had no name or address.
His card reads, in part, “To the unknown nurse who saved me the other day,” and was signed “Kyle.”
Miller learned “Kyle” received several stitches in his ankle and was released by the hospital.
What struck Miller was the thoughtfulness of a young man on spring break who would take the time to buy something and try to thank her.
“Of all the negative things we hear about young people, it did my heart good to get this thank-you card and the flowers,” said Miller, who has six children of her own.
“I don’t really think I saved his life, but I’m glad I was there and knew what to do.
“And I really appreciate his thoughtfulness,” she said.
Ironically, Miller learned the injured man also was vacationing on Anna Maria Island from her home state of Michigan and is a college student at Oakland Community College near Pontiac, about 70 miles from her hometown of Lansing.
“That’s all I know about him, but God bless him,” she said.
The Millers own a condominium at La Costa in Bradenton Beach where they spend winter vacations.