Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the most common causes of death in the US, but in Independence Township, Pennsylvania, would be tragedies were rather stories of heroism.
Six months earlier, Officer John O’Neil had an emergency call to a local auto repair store because someone had collapsed from cardiac arrest. O’Neil quickly arrived and was the first on the scene. So he used his AED to stabilize the victim until the ambulance arrived.
Now, six months later, O’Neil received a similar call. Within four minutes he arrived and was once again the first on the scene. He found 63 year-old, Mary Jane Forte, on her couch with no pulse. Using the same Defibtech Lifeline View AED he had used to save the last person’s life, he attached the paddles and shocked her whenever the machine instructed him to push the button. By the time paramedics arrived, they were able to find a heartbeat and Forte only had to spend three days in the hospital.
Only three days before the incident, another officer, Christopher Prell also used his AED to save a man’s life. He responded to a call and found Charles Davis at his home not breathing and without a pulse. Prell administered CPR for seven minutes until paramedics arrived and brought Davis to the hospital. They said the only reason Davis was still alive was because of Prell’s efforts.
[ Related: Nebraska Law Enforcment AEDs ]
These stories show the importance of a well-trained and well equipped police force. Not only are Independence Township officer’s required to have an AED, but every two years they have to take AED and CPR classes. In all three situations, as is typical in emergencies, police officers O’Neil and Prell were the first ones to arrive at the scene. If they hadn’t been equipped or trained, the stories for the three victims would certainly have been different.