Mohegan Sun Visitor’s Heart Stops, Saved By Nurse at Connecticut Casino

Posted on: October 30, 2021, 01:53h. 

Last updated on: October 31, 2021, 11:13h.

A Massachusetts woman collapsed on the casino floor at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun last week. Thankfully, registered nurse Cindy Edwards was nearby.

Edwards started applying CPR compressions on the woman’s chest
Patient Sandra Swenor meets Backus Hospital nurse and supervisor Cindy Edwards, shown above. Edwards, just days before, saved the woman’s life at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun casino.  (Image: Backus Hospital courtesy to

Edwards immediately sprang into action. She and two other nurses applied life-saving techniques known as chest compressions.

Sanda Swenor was revived thanks to their efforts. Later, she and Edwards reunited at the Connecticut hospital, Backus in Norwich, where Edwards was the east region employee health supervisor for Hartford HealthCare.

Nurse Springs into Action

The incident began early in the evening on Oct. 22. Edwards and her husband had tickets to see country music star Blake Shelton performing at Mohegan Sun.

As they were waiting for the show to start, her husband noticed Swenor, who also was waiting to attend the show, starting to have a seizure. She was leaning on one of the slot machines. He alerted his wife.

I looked up. I ran over to her,” Cindy Edwards told in a Friday interview.

Edwards knew exactly what to do. Before working in Connecticut, she had been an emergency room nurse in South Carolina and an EMT. Edwards placed the patient onto the floor and began checking Swenor’s vital signs.

“There was no pulse. There was no breathing,” Edwards told

Heroic Team Work

Swenor had gone into sudden cardiac arrest and her heart had stopped.

Immediately, Edwards yelled out for someone to call 911 to get EMTs. She began applying CPR compressions on the woman’s chest. Soon, a second woman came up to Edwards.

I’m a nurse. I can help you,” the second nurse told Edwards.

Edwards and the second nurse then took turns on compressions. It is strenuous for anyone to continually give compressions on their own. Without that second nurse lending a hand, the rescue efforts may have taken a dier turn. An external defibrillator – which can restore the heart’s beating if the heart suddenly stops– was not available.

A short time later, a third woman came over. She, too, was a nurse. That third nurse continued to assist with the rescue efforts and monitored for a pulse. Thankfully, soon, she felt one.

Within minutes, EMTs arrived at the casino floor. They took over and transported the patient to a nearby ambulance.

Women Reunited

Edwards suspected paramedics transported Swenor to nearby Backus Hospital in Norwich. That hospital happened to be one where Edwards had worked recently.

A few days later, Edwards asked Backus staff if they remembered a woman who came in with cardiac arrest and seizure at Mohegan Sun.

“I just wanted to make sure she made it and everything is good,” Edwards explained to colleagues.

After a few tries, a staff member at the hospital confirmed that Swenor was there. The staff member said that Edwards should meet her. So, she brought Edwards up to the patient’s room. The patient and her mother immediately thanked her for everything she had done.

I can’t thank you enough for saving my daughter,” the mom told Edwards, she recalls. “Cindy Edwards is my hero.”

Edwards and Swenor talked for a while. Edwards told her to get healthy and remain healthy. In a good sign, Swenor was discharged from the hospital earlier this week. She is going to monitor the situation with her health professionals.

Nurse’s Training, Instinct

Edwards remains humble about the incident, explaining that instinct and training immediately took over. The other two nurses who pitched in never told Edwards their names. Like Edwards, they just wanted to help when they were needed.

I’m a nurse and that’s what were supposed to do – respond,” Edwards said.

Even though the three nurses pitched in, many people at the casino kept on playing slot machines as events unfolded. It was Edwards’ husband who got a pit boss to call for emergency personnel.

Purely by chance, Edwards this week has relocated to Maine to take a new job as director of employee health for MaineHealth, which operates several hospitals in the state.

As Edwards looks forward to Thanksgiving in November, she is thankful for her family’s good health and commends her colleagues in Connecticut and elsewhere, especially during trying times of COVID-19.

“I will be forever grateful that I met her,” Edwards added about Swenor. “Now, I have a pen pal…. We’ll always stay in contact.”