Call it cosmic convergence or alignment of lucky stars or something like that.
A state trooper with the right training and the right equipment in the right place at the right time. That’s all it took to save a man who’s heart began to fail him last week.
He was so lucky.
Oregon State Trooper Freddie Dunlap was going off duty but was listening in when an emergency call came in the early morning from a North Bend convenience store, where the man had collapsed.
Dunlap is a retired Army nurse and emergency medical technician. That alone might have been enough to render emergency first aid.
But in his cruiser, Dunlap was carrying an automated external defibrillator. The device was one of two on loan from an area hospital.
North Bend police and fire personnel stood by while Dunlap attached the machine to the man and shocked him — twice — and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Bay Cities Ambulance arrived and took the man to the hospital.
Afterward, Dunlap understandably tried to put his effort into a perspective: “Part of our training is with the AED,” he said. “They’re very simple. You put them on and hit the button and it tells you what to do . . ..”
And yes, Dunlap is technically correct. Many first aid training courses show students how to work the devices. It looks easy; until you find yourself kneeling over someone who is dying.
In light of this tragedy, a number of good lessons emerge:
- A law enforcement officer once again reminded us these men and women are here to serve and protect, not just catch bad guys.
- A small amount of life-saving training is well worth the time invested (and not just by public servants).
- Having the right equipment at the right time (like an $1,800 AED) can make a difference between life and death.
- Serendipity indeed does exist.
Now we just have to wonder how long the hospital’s equipment loan to the troopers is good for.