Quick actions by medics save Soldier's life
March 31, 2011
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Combat medics from Delta Company, 232nd Medical Battalion, 32nd Medical Brigade, jumped into high gear March 23 when one of their student Soldiers suddenly collapsed, started having seizures and stopped breathing.
The quick thinking and actions by Staff Sgt. David Dunlap, Staff Sgt. Philip McCaffrey, Sgt. 1st Class Edward Cole, Sgt. 1st Class James Carroll, Sgt. 1st Class Antheo Green, Sgt. 1st Class Lorene Reynolds, Sgt. 1st Class Richard Aquino and Sgt. 1st Class Douglas Biala, with each performing a special task, saved the life of one of their Soldiers.
"We just came from doing physical training - an interval running program - and we were walking back when the Soldier starting blacking out and initially starting seizing," Dunlap said.
Dunlap immediately made sure the Soldier's head was in a neutral position and continued checking his pulse.
"I heard a faint pulse, then the pulse went away and his breathing stopped," Dunlap said.
McCaffrey started performing compressions and Cole began mouth-to-mouth recusitation while Dunlap continued monitoring the Soldier's pulse.
"When the automated external defibrillator arrived, we got the chest pads on and began the evaluation and analyzing," Dunlap said. "When the AED voiced to shock and the area was cleared, we shocked the patient, continued with CPR and compressions, then he started breathing. By the time the ambulance arrived, he was breathing and conscious.
Before McCaffrey and the others jumped in to help, he was standing off to the side trying to get his troops in formation when he saw the Soldier go down.
"I ran over and Cole got there before me. We held the Soldier when he was seizing so he wouldn't hurt himself," McCaffrey said.
"When he stopped breathing, we were already in the perfect position, so Cole starting doing rescue breathing and I started doing chest compressions," McCaffrey added. "From there, it was like a movie scene."
While Dunlap, McCaffrey, and Cole were working on the patient, Carroll - who initially called 911 - was on the phone with the dispatcher, while Aquino ran back and forth providing the current patient status until the ambulance and fire chief arrived.
"Once the fire chief arrived and the Soldier was breathing, I was able to hang up and go outside and figured out it was one of my Soldiers," Carroll said. "We've had Soldiers go down before, but nothing this serious. It was pretty scary, but we had a good team and everybody helped out and knew what to do."
"I helped control the crowd, made sure the ambulance was being flagged down, and made sure the barriers were out of the way for the ambulance to get through," Green said. "Whatever mission wasn't being taken care of, I filled that void."
Green said that after the incident, he told his students that they saw what seasoned combat medics can do and this is what they are all training for.
When Biala saw the Soldier on the ground he immediately yelled for ice sheet because he thought it was a heat injury. "I saw they were performing CPR, so I ran over and helped by taking off his clothes, helped moved barriers and went back to the patient to remove his socks and shoes.
"I've never done this before in real life, only in training," Biala said. "This shows we are well trained and all the training we learned actually works."
Maj. Gen. David Rubenstein, commanding general, Army Medical Department Center & School, thanked each Soldier involved and presented each with a commander's coin at Delta Company March 25.
"I'm just glad the outcome was good," Cole said. "The whole company was involved and everyone was there for support. Everyone was looking out for each other. One team, one fight."