Within weeks of being issued a portable defibrillator for the first time, a police officer helped save a man's life with it.
This month the Bellevue Police department began participating in a pilot program in which 44 patrol cars were equipped with automatic external defibrillators, machines that can restore the heart's rhythm for someone having a heart attack.
King County Public Health arranged for both the Bellevue and Kent police forces to be equipped with defibrillators to see whether having police officers as well as firefighters/emergency medical technicians equipped for some medical emergencies can improve save rates for heart attack victims. Philips Healthcare donated the defibrillators.
The equipment may have made the difference for a 50-year-old Renton man on Sunday, March 14.
Officer Brenda Johnson was at the Group Health Bellevue Medical Center that evening on an unrelated call when a frantic woman ran into the lobby, saying her husband was having a heart attack.
Officer Johnson ran out to the woman's car and found the man in the passenger seat, unconscious and unresponsive. She called for backup. Group Health personnel helped her pull the man from the car and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Officer Andrew Popochock arrived with a defibrillator. Both medical personnel and Officer Popochock operated the unit. After two rounds from the defibrillator, the man regained a pulse and he was admitted to the emergency room. He was recovering at Overlake Hospital Monday.
"This event is a testament to the defibrillator program and our enhanced ability to save lives," said Patrol Major Cherie Baker. "Officers Johnson and Popochock should be commended for their quick thinking and action. They saved valuable seconds getting the shock delivered."
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