Fort Lee military policeman assists man who stopped breathing
November 20, 2011
FORT LEE, Va. (Nov. 17, 2011)-A Fort Lee Soldier carried out lifesaving procedures on a man who collapsed at a gas station in Chesterfield County Nov. 7.
Staff Sgt. Edmund Whipple, 217th Military Police Detachment, performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a middle-aged man at a Kroger service station located on the corner of LeGordon Drive and Midlothian Turnpike in Midlothian.
The victim, described as a male in his late 50s or early 60s, was thereafter treated at the scene by paramedics and rushed to a hospital. His condition/status is unknown.
Whipple, who is 41 years old, said he stopped to get gas on his way to visit a friend at the hospital when a woman indicated that someone was lying on the pavement. He said he told her to call 911 and rushed over to assist the victim.
"There was a gentleman lying on the backside of the vehicle, halfway underneath," said Whipple. "He was still breathing, but he was having a hard time doing so."
The man's eyes were yellowish and he gazed toward the sky, said Whipple. Within a few minutes, the victim's breathing became shallower and finally stopped.
"Everyone was freaking out," he said. "This wasn't textbook at all."
A crowd of people had formed on the scene and one of them had contacted a 911 dispatcher by cell phone. The dispatcher relayed lifesaving instructions over the phone's loudspeaker and Whipple followed.
"No one else knew what to do, so I started to go into chest compressions," he said. "I counted off - one thousand one, one thousand two ... She (the dispatcher) helped to pace me."
Whipple estimated that he did chest compressions for more than five minutes.
"It seemed like forever," he said, noting he was full of adrenaline at the same time. "He still didn't have a pulse or heartbeat."
At some point, Whipple said the sounds of sirens became audible, signaling that help was on the way.
When authorities got there, they instructed Whipple to keep performing CPR while making preparations to use a defibrillator.
"They shocked him once," said Whipple. "That must have jolted him to breathing because they got a heartbeat and pulse; they stabilized him, put him on the stretcher and took him away."
Whipple said he hasn't learned of the man's condition or his identity, but none of that matters to him.
"You want to help people," he said, "just like when you're downrange and helping a buddy. I looked at him like he was somebody's father or grandfather."
Whipple, who works at the Military Police Desk in the Provost Marshal's Office, said it was a surreal experience, one in which his Soldier training possibly saved a life.
"This could happen to anybody," said the Anderson, Ind. native. "It's good to know what to do in that situation."