Port Angeles police officers, sheriff’s deputy save bicyclist’s life

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A portable defibrillator and three local law enforcement officers could have been the difference between life and death for a 22-year-old man who was found unconscious in alley off Peabody Street earlier this week.

At about 3 a.m. Monday, a passing Port Angeles police officer saw a man collapsed next to a bicycle on an alley off Peabody Street between First and Front streets and called for additional help, said Deputy Police Chief Brian Smith.

Unresponsive

Port Angeles Officers Brian Stamon and Dave Dombrowski, along with Clallam County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Knutson, found the unidentified 22-year-old man on the ground and unresponsive, Smith said.

The man was not breathing and had no pulse, so officers immediately began CPR and started using the automatic external defibrillator stored in the deputy’s patrol car, Smith said.

Smith said the man’s condition was serious enough to require two shocks from the portable defibrillator.

The device will deliver shocks only if it senses a lethal heart rhythm or no heartbeat in the patient.

“That would tell you the patient [was] pulse-less and not breathing,” Smith said.

Two units from the Port Angeles Fire Department arrived a minute or two after the officers, said Andrew Cooper, firefighter/paramedic, and took the man to Olympic Medical Center, where his condition was stabilized.

Neither Smith nor Cooper knew what caused the man to fall unconscious.

Portable defibrillator

The portable defibrillator was one of a series of such devices the Olympic Medical Foundation gave to the Sheriff’s Office, Port Angeles Police Department and Sequim Police Department in 2010 and 2011, Chief Criminal Sheriff’s Deputy Ron Cameron said.

The Sheriff’s Office has one in eight of its patrol cars, while the Port Angeles Police Department has 12.

Smith said the officers and deputies equipped with the devices are trained to use them in emergency situations before paramedics arrive to give them the best chance of reviving individuals who have a weak or no heartbeat.

“Seconds equal survivability,” Smith said.

“Fifteen or 20 seconds’ difference in electricity delivery can make the difference between a viable patient and a nonviable patient.”

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 04. 2012 5:37PM
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