Alumna Credits Undergraduate Training for Life-Saving Actions in Monroe County

November 6, 2013  |  by Michael Freedman

Samantha Elliott

Samantha Elliott, '12, received the Civilian Service Award during the Monroe County Sheriff's Office’s 11th Annual Awards Luncheon on Sept. 26.

On May 5, Samantha Elliott, while working the overnight shift as a night auditor at the Renaissance Del Monte Lodge Hotel & Spa in Pittsford, N.Y., responded to the room of a guest who had suffered an apparent heart attack. Upon her arrival, she took immediate and lifesaving actions by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, until she was relieved by responding personnel.

The guest was rushed to Strong Memorial Hospital for emergency surgery. Elliott was later told that the man was recovering well and was discharged from the hospital in about a week.

For her bravery, Elliott, a 2012 graduate of Niagara University, was presented with the Civilian Service Award during the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office’s 11th Annual Awards Luncheon on Sept. 26.

“Without your critical and competent response, the victim may have suffered irreversible harm or death if he had not received aid prior to the arrival of first responders,” remarked Patrick M. O’Flynn, Monroe County sheriff. “On behalf of the men and women of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, I commend you for your quick action and demonstration of caring, which led to a life being saved.”

Elliott credits her ability to respond to the potentially grave situation she faced in Pittsford to CPR training she received as part of a class she took as an undergraduate at NU.

“I wanted to take the time to thank you again for making everyone who takes your Advanced Hotel Operations course complete a CPR class before they can pass,” wrote Elliott in an email to Dr. William Frye, an associate professor in NU’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management. “It was because of you and your decision to involve this in your course that I was able to assist in saving someone’s life.

“I am sharing this with you because I hope you continue to have CPR a mandatory part of your course. I also hope that someday Niagara University and universities nationwide make this mandatory for all of their graduates. The class is only a few hours, but a few hours can save someone’s life. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Since 2007, Dr. Frye has made CPR/AED training a mandatory component of his courses in Advanced Hotel Operation (MHR 445) and Club Management (MHR 409). Dr. Frye coordinates training through a Rochester-based company, Shock for Life, which specializes in AEDs (automated external defibrillators), CPR, AED and first aid.

Shock for Life’s C.E.O. MaryBeth Barber and her associates visit campus once each spring semester to train students according to the American Heart Association’s CPR/AED Heartsaver program. Students are trained in CPR, AED and the Heimlich maneuver for adults, children and infants. Those who do not complete the training (or an equivalent) and obtain certification cannot pass either of Dr. Frye’s courses.

“The entire premise of this course requirement was that we, as hospitality owners and managers, have a responsibility to take care of our guests, especially in their time of need,” explained Dr. Frye, who also serves as the executive editor of The Rooms Chronicle and editor of the Electronic Journal of Hospitality Legal, Safety and Security Research. “From an ethical and moral point of view, it is unconscionable to take money from guests for providing hospitality services yet not assist them when they need it the most.

“We must be able to foresee that, at some point in time, a guest in a hotel or a member in a private club will suffer sudden cardiac arrest or be unable to breathe. If we do not immediately respond, there is a high likelihood the guest/member will die or suffer irreversible brain damage due to lack of oxygen. It is very unlikely that paramedics can arrive in time to save the guest. Therefore, we must train our students to be prepared to take immediate lifesaving action until professional help can arrive. Samantha’s story serves as validation for this course requirement.”

Elliott is currently employed as a payroll specialist at the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority.

For more information on Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, please call 716.286.8279 or go online to