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UW Health nurse, patient she saved reunite after 22 years

A nurse and the patient she saved had an emotional reunion at University Hospital.
A nurse and the patient she saved had an emotional reunion at University Hospital.(UW Health)
Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 6:17 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A UW Health nurse and the woman she cared for during a near-fatal shooting had an emotional reunion for the first time in 22 years, all due to a chance encounter.

UW Health explained that Robin Kerl had left a store on Madison’s west side on June 11, 1999, with her fiancé when an ex-boyfriend of hers attacked them. The man shot her and her fiancé, killing him and leaving her critically injured.

A UW Med Flight helicopter crew was called to the scene, with flight nurse Kim Maerz. The health system says the work of the medical crew and their speed of transport increased Kerl’s chance for survival.

Kerl was eventually able to regain her abilities to walk and talk, while UW Health says Maerz continued to work as a Med Flight nurse.

The two reunited at a Med Flight helicopter base at University Hospital, now more than two decades later. The way they were able to meet up was just fate.

UW Health continued, saying Maerz’s son dates an employee at a fitness center where Kerl works out and noticed Kerl had a Med Flight t-shirt on. She asked if Kerl had flown in the helicopter and told Kerl she knew someone at Med Flight. Kerl then asked if she could send Nurse Maerz an email to see if she could meet the crew who cared for her.

Maerz said words couldn’t express what it was like to see Kerl again.

“It’s been 22 years and I truly didn’t think she was going to make it,” Maerz said. “I can’t believe she is walking, talking, communicating and participating; the power of the human being and the will to live is Robin all over.”

“It feels so nice to finally meet Kim, the person who saved my life for me,” Kerl said. “It’s such a blessing, she’s helped me in my recovery, and I thank her so much for all her help that day.”

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