On August 1, 2003, Officer Michael Detloff stopped a vehicle that appeared to be speeding and repeatedly changing lanes without the use of their turn signal. He learned that the driver was in the process of calling 911 in reference to his wife, the passenger, who was not breathing. Officer Steven Larsen responded to assist Officer Detloff. The two officers confirmed that the patient did not have a heartbeat and was not breathing. Officer Detloff performed rescue breathing while Officer Larsen attached an automated external defibrillator (AED) which advised “No shock”. Both Officers began CPR until an ambulance arrived. A pulse was re-established on the scene with the continued assistance of rescue breathing.
The supervising paramedic on the scene later stated: “Without any doubt the only reason this patient survived the cardiac arrest was the immediate proper medical attention that she received from Officers Detloff and Larsen.” He noted the 3-4 minutes of travel time to the hospital would have most likely resulted in “Toxic Brain Injury” due to lack of oxygen to the patient’s brain. The patient had overdosed on a respiratory depressant which diminishes the drive to breathe resulting in blood chemistry changes. With the rescue breathing and CPR, the two officers were able to maintain blood flow and provide oxygen to the victim. The patient’s blood chemistry was back to normal by the time they were at the hospital. The patient made a full recovery.
The actions displayed by Officers Detloff and Larsen exhibited the highest standards of the police profession and provided an opportunity for reconsideration and reflection on the part of the patient.