Four 'angels' honored for saving Lafayette husband's life during heart attack at Oakland airport

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A Lafayette husband and wife were on their way to visit the man’s 99-year-old mother when suddenly the pair canceled the trip because Steven Kirschner felt violently ill – he collapsed to the ground on the curb at Oakland International Airport.

Steven Kirschner suffered from a heart attack in February  and his wife, Susan, was frantic, looking around for help. She cradled her husband’s head in her lap.

Suddenly, four nurses from Kaiser Permanente, all of whom were returning from a business trip in Las Vegas appeared outside of Terminal 2. They performed CPR on the sidewalk until Alameda County sheriff’s deputies and paramedics arrived.

“These four angels arrived and took over, “ Susan Kirschner said Thursday during a reunion with the nurses, who were honored by the Port of Oakland for saving Steven Kirschner’s life. “They literally took over.” 

Steven Kirschner said it was “wonderful” to meet the men who saved him and noted it was “remarkable” that the nurses happened to be in the right place at the right time.

The nurses shook hands and hugged the Kirschners and received certificates of heroism.  Those nurses, who work in the Walnut Creek gastroenterology department, are: Rainier Escanio, Marc Discipulo, Armil Vertudez and Oliver Naca.

Naca said the experience moved him deeply, as well. He also remarked on the sheer coincidence of it all – he said he and his colleagues had crossed the street where they really weren’t supposed to.

“It's very overwhelming none of us had experienced this before,” Naca said. “It’s a beautiful thing where we see our work come to life right in front of us.”