DENTAC staff save volunteer during school event

By John CiccarelliOctober 4, 2022

DENTAC saves staff volunteer at dental screening event
Lt. Col. Min Kim and Maj. Daniel Snow, Dental Health Activity Rhineland-Pfalz (DENTAC-RP) pediatric dentists performing a full mouth dental rehabilitation operation at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Sept. 30. Kim and Snow were among two of three DENTAC-RP staff members who responded to a medical emergency during a health fair at Vogelweh Elementary School on Sept. 12. (Photo Credit: John Ciccarelli) VIEW ORIGINAL

Dental Health Activity Rhineland-Pfalz (DENTAC-RP) staff members responded to a medical emergency during a health fair at Vogelweh Elementary School on Sept. 12.

Pediatric dentists, Army Lt. Col. Min Kim and Army Maj. Daniel Snow, were providing dental screening to students with fellow DENTAC-RP dental assistant, Halel Fleming, when a volunteer at the event began to seize up and choke, causing an immediate reaction from the dental staff.

“The moment was intense, the individual stopped breathing and fell to the ground choking. We immediately followed our life-saving training and began to perform alternating choke-prevention techniques,” said Kim, a native of Seoul.

With limited tools, the team positioned the patient to prevent further complications while providing sternal rubs and keeping her airway clear, despite her jaw clamping shut. Once paramedics arrived, the patient was stabilized and transported to a hospital.

“There were times during the event where the (individual) was struggling to breathe. We just tried to do everything we could to keep (the individual) breathing until emergency medical services arrived,” said Snow, native of Newbury Park, CA. “Tragedy can strike at any time – you always need to be ready and willing to provide aid. The best way to respond to a situation like this is to stay calm and think clearly.”

Lt. Col. James Giesen, commander of DENTAC-RP, said he is extremely proud of the dental team and how their quick reaction prevented a potentially fatal situation.

“We never know when we will be tested, either in our workplace or in our communities. Our team worked together, assumed responder roles, and rendered life-saving aid until EMS could arrive. They were in the right place at the right time,” he said.