Quick action of emergency responders saves life in Columbus

Published 10:41pm Sunday, November 24, 2013

A couple planned a simple, happy journey from Tennessee to Winter Park, Fla., but as they drove along I-26, a strange gurgling noise startled the husband.
He looked over and saw his wife slumped in the car.
Frantic, but thinking fast, he took the next exit off I-26 and drove into the parking lot of the Roadrunner at 393 West Mills in Columbus.
“The guy came running in here saying, ‘I can’t wake my wife up, I can’t wake my wife up,’” said William Hullen, store manager. “She had her mouth open and I checked, and she didn’t have a pulse, so I made the 9-1-1 call.”
Officer Ron Diaz responded immediately; he heard the call and was across the street at the Texaco. Robbie Price, chief of the Polk County Rescue Squad, got there fast, too.
“Within 30 seconds, Officer Diaz was here, and within 30 seconds more a rescue worker was here,” Hullen said. “They were on top of it.”
Chris Beddingfield, chief of police for Columbus, said the lady appeared completely lifeless when Diaz and Price arrived on the scene.
The two then performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The ambulance arrived rapidly, as did the fire department. The paramedics began their work, defibrillating and delivering medication.
“The teams worked together,” said Michael Crater, head of Polk County Emergency Services.
Soon the woman had a pulse again and had begun breathing on her own.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Beddingfield said. “When you have something like that happen, it makes it all worthwhile. In typical Ron Diaz fashion, our officer says he was just doing his job, but they saved a life.”
Crater said the entire team worked together effectively and efficiently from the moment Hullen made the call. Once the woman stabilized, the paramedics transported her to a cardiac center at Spartanburg.
“I heard she’s doing pretty well,” Hullen said.
A helicopter would take 12 minutes to get to the site and 12 minutes to get back, with several minutes for loading and unloading. Paramedics were able to transport the woman to the cardiac center in 25 minutes, so they beat the time it would have taken for the chopper, Crater said.
“Thanks to the fast response, she probably went no more than two minutes without a pulse,” Crater said. “You must start CPR within 5 minutes or less, and after 8 minutes, there’s no coming back.”

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