KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An act of God. That is how a nurse describes how she helped a man that accidentally shot himself in the parking lot of the Walmart on Clinton Highway Thursday.
Danita Dee Dee Futrell, a CNA, said she wasn’t supposed to be there, but it was fate that she was.
“Didn’t have any plans going by Walmart at all, and I was one parking space away from him,” Futrell said.
She had meant to go to Home Depot to buy some materials for her son. It was a good thing she accidentally drove to Walmart instead.
As she was parking, Futrell said she felt like she hit something.
“I was getting out of the car — and I had just gotten off work as a CNA, so I had gloves in my pocket–and I turned. When I got out of the truck and I looked, I saw the guy yelling for help,” Futrell said.
Futrell immediately ran to help.
“He’s walking around, which I know in my mind is making his blood pump twice as hard, you know. And I’m thinking ‘he’s not going to make it if I don’t get him still and try to stop the blood,'” Futrell said.
Futrell attended nursing school three times, and all three times she had to drop out for family reasons. Instead, she became an in-home CNA for those with memory loss, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. She hadn’t performed any type of trauma care in about 21 years.
Futrell’s instincts kicked in anyway, and she remembered her tourniquet training.
“I just knew that I had to stop the blood flow. That was just my main objective. I didn’t care about anything else at that point in time,” Futrell said.
Futrell jokes now that she was being a little bossy at the scene, but that was just instinct as well. She started pointing at people around her for items to make a tourniquet.
“I wish I could apologize to all of them, but I pushed them to the side and was like you know, ‘I need a belt. I need a shirt, T-shirt, does anybody have a blanket? Anything,'” Futrell said.
Futrell was able to make the tourniquet and stop the blood flow as much as she could.
“I put my fist in the wound and held it until I couldn’t see anymore blood falling. And I held it there until the EMTs got there,” Futrell said.
She said she didn’t think twice to help this man she didn’t know, even though at the time she had no idea how he got shot. Futrell said all she could think about was her family — her sons.
“If that had been my son, I would’ve wanted somebody to step in,” Futrell said.
She knew from experience how important it was to be there for someone in need of help: Her eldest son died in a car crash several years ago, and her friend was there as they waited for the ambulance.
“When you see somebody hurting, whether they’re sitting at a table at a restaurant crying, or on the side of the road bleeding, you know, what you’re supposed to do is help,” Futrell said.
She said she does try to help anyone in need whenever she can. Even when she’s down, she tried to help her patients and make them happy. Futrell joked she does that by dancing to Morgan Wallen’s music.
After the adrenaline was gone and she got to think about what happened, she thought about everyone else who jumped into to help as well.
“I looked around, like after the fact, and nobody was discriminating against anyone. It was, you know, a human helping another human. And that’s what you’re supposed to do,” Futrell said.
Futrell said she had been in contact with the man’s family, who told her that he is recovering.
According to KPD officials, the man is still in the hospital, but is in stable condition. KPD is still in the early stages of the investigation.