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Unsung hero

“Carmen from Chicago,” mystery good Samaritan nurse, identified

She's very relieved that Geoffrey Lee, injured in the bicycle wreck, is doing OK.

by February 12, 2018

Mystery no more: Carmen Magers, RN, in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) at Children’s Hospital. Photo by Wayne Wood

“Carmen from Chicago,” the mystery good Samaritan nurse whose act of kindness prompted a Nashville man to phone VUMC to tell how she helped him after a bicycle wreck, has been identified.

She is Carmen Magers, RN, who works in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

A few days ago VUMC Voice published this story about a Nashville man, Geoffrey Lee, who crashed his bike while riding on the Edwin Warner Park greenway. Lee suffered broken bones to his face, was dazed and bleeding, and Magers, who was running nearby, evaluated his injuries, helped him back to his car, and strongly urged him to go to a walk-in clinic, which he did.

The day the story came out Magers had come to work expecting a normal day. She said the experience of being suddenly kind-of famous was disorienting.

But he didn’t catch her last name. He only knew her as Carmen, and knew she was from Chicago.

Shortly after the story was published, several readers contacted VUMC News and Communications with Magers’ name, and co-workers in Children’s Hospital began calling and texting her, asking if she was “Carmen from Chicago.”

The first to contact her was the manager of the PACU, LeighAnn Chadwell, RN.

“LeighAnn called me and said, ‘Is this you?’ Magers said. “I said yes — and that I was so relieved to hear that he is OK.”

Magers had been kicking herself for not getting Lee’s phone number so she could check on him. The last time she had seen him, he was driving away with blood on his face, and she had been wondering since about what happened after that.

She was a little distracted and in a hurry that day because it was time for her to pick up her children, Rocky, 5, and Nora, 7, from school.

And for the record, “Carmen from Chicago” is actually a native of Peoria, Illinois, but had lived in Chicago for the past 15 years, until two years ago when she and her husband Greg, a music producer, moved to Nashville and she started at Children’s Hospital.

The day the story came out Magers had come to work expecting a normal day. She said the experience of being suddenly kind-of famous was disorienting.

She displayed her phone, with a stream of congratulatory texts from friends. She said other nurses were paging her over the unit loudspeakers as “Carmen from Chicago.”

“Then I was getting texts from my grandma and my mom. This is just overwhelming,” she said.

But mainly she was glad to hear that Lee had taken her advice, gone for evaluation, and that he was recovering from surgery to repair the broken bones in his face.

“I had worried about him ever since,” she said. “He was a very, very kind man.”

To read the original story of how Magers found and aided Geoffrey Lee after his bicycle wreck, click here.

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