Roadside Assistance: A Memorial Hermann oncology nurse made a lifesaving detour on her way to work.

Dioni Lopez, RN, was on her way to work one morning when the highway traffic came to a sudden stop. She worried briefly about being late for her 8:30 a.m. meeting. Then she saw a man lying in the roadway, and all she could think was: “How can I help?”

The man, a motorcyclist, appeared to have hit the back of a box truck. He’d been thrown off his bike and onto the side of the road, dangerously close to a steep ravine. He had been wearing a helmet, but it had come off in the crash. He was bleeding and unconscious.

Some people had gotten out of their cars, but no one was helping him. Lopez, an oncology nurse at the Cancer Center at Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital, pulled her car into the median. Then she got out and ran.

The man was lying on his left side and did not appear to be breathing. Lopez thought she felt a very faint pulse, but when she checked his eyes, there was no sign of activity. She rolled him onto his back and felt again for a pulse. This time, nothing. “He was just limp,” she recalled. “I didn’t know if he was dead or alive.”

She was so focused on the man that the world around her was a blur. She had spoken to a few of the bystanders and knew that someone had called 911. She was vaguely aware of some construction workers standing behind her and a woman crying in the distance.

“I just remember thinking, ‘How am I going to bring this guy back? I’ve got to do something. What would I do in the hospital?’” she said.

She started to administer CPR. After two sets of chest compressions, the man’s stomach made a wave motion and he began to breathe. “I could tell that he was coming to. He blinked and his eyes started to focus. He looked at me, stunned. Then he put his hand on my knee.”

Lopez didn’t know what language the man spoke, so she used English and Spanish to tell him the same thing: “You’re OK. The ambulance is coming. Estás bien. La ambulancia ya viene.”

In fact, an ambulance arrived moments later. The man had a nasty scrape on the back of his head, a broken arm and a huge gash on his left leg. Lopez helped a paramedic hold up the man’s leg to wrap it. By then, he was alert enough to give them his name. The EMS team put him on a gurney, loaded him into the ambulance and took him away.

Lopez got back in her car. Her phone showed several missed calls — co-workers wondering where she was. “The meeting didn’t cross my mind until I got in the car and people were calling me. You just forget about everything else,” she said. 

Her colleagues understood, of course. When she finally made it to work, her hair was disheveled and her clothes were a mess. “There was dirt all over me,” she said.

Lopez was in a daze for the rest of the day. “It was a surreal feeling. I’ve witnessed some accidents, but not like that one — that was pretty gnarly,” she said. “I thought he was gone, and then he came back, and I was like, ‘Did that just happen?’”

She’s still not sure whether the man truly had no pulse or if she just couldn’t detect it. “It’s really hard to restart someone’s heart just on compressions. I’m thinking I stimulated him enough to come out of shock,” she said.

She still thinks about him and hopes he pulled through.

“He went to a different hospital, so I wasn’t able to follow up with him. I wish he’d come here so I could see how he was,” she said. “I’m just glad I got there when I did and that I was able to help him when he needed it.” 


  1. That is so awesome. I, probably like many other nurses, have stopped at vehicle accidents to assist, but I’ve never encountered any of life or death. Great job Ms. Dion!

  2. All I could think of was my brother upon having his motorcycle accident. Thank GOD you were there in his time of need. GODS CONTINUOUS MIRACLES AND BLESSINGS UPON YOU!

  3. What a good Samaritan you are. May God heal the victim soon to complete recovery and the mighty God bless you abundantly. So proud of you. ” But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord ‘, and not do the things which I say? Our Lord taught us to ” love your neighbor as yourself”. St. Luke 6:46
    You have done it. Blessings.

  4. Absolutely awesome! God made sure you were at the right place at the right time and he is to be glorified for that divine setup. And you are to be applauded for your obedience , you could have easily took a detour but did not! To God be the glory and ! May God continue to use you as you yield to his direction!

  5. He was fortunate to have a nurse close by! Awesome display of your training and compassion!

  6. This literally made me cry lol Omg That was an amazing story almost sound like a movie.. Bravo Lopez you Rock on soo many levels

  7. what an amazing job ! Youo should feel so proud , you saved a life.. you saved a family from grieving.. you used your training and went that mode.. may god bless you for saving a life you didnt even know. What a HERO !

  8. Absolutely awesome, Dioni!!!! What a miracle you are! You were at the right place, right time, and you were this man’s angel. God bless you for being there for him.

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