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Officers use CCR to save man from overdosing | Health

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Officers use CCR to save man from overdosing
Health, News
Officers use CCR to save man from overdosing

Several Madison police officers will be nominated for awards for their efforts in saving a Madison man who’d nearly overdosed Wednesday.

Police spokesman Joel DeSpain said officers Michele Walker, Andrew Bruce, Jane Zahalka, Alison Radzicki and Nathaniel Lujan worked to help revive a man who’d ingested a large amount of heroin.

"We see these [overdoses] quite frequently and people die," DeSpain said. "Seconds count at this point."

Two of the officers found the 20-year-old in a Reston Heights neighborhood street at about 6:45 p.m.

Police had received a call to check the welfare of the man, DeSpain said. The officers only had a general location for the man. As police were searching the area for him, a woman walking her dog flagged police down. She initially thought she was seeing a scarecrow decoration lying in the street, but stopped the officers realizing it was something more.

The report said when officers found him, the man didn’t have a pulse.

The officers worked as a team until paramedics arrived to get the man’s heart pumping again. DeSpain said officers Bruce, Walker and Zahalka took turns performing chest compressions for about 10 minutes. Radzicki worked to get a response from him, talking to him and trying to get him to open his eyes. Lujan kept the man’s legs secure to prevent him from injuring himself as he was revived.

The officers detected a pulse returning and the man began to regain consciousness.

Police said paramedics arrived and gave the man two doses of Narcan to counteract the heroin in his system. The man had ingested two grams of the drug, he told police when he came around.

DeSpain said any time officers save a citizen, they're nominated for an award, but the save in this case was remarkable given the circumstances.

"Bringing people back anytime, in this case a [pulseless non-breather], is significant," DeSpain said. "And performing CCR for eight to 10 minutes is a long time." CCR is a version of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, using only chest compressions.

The combination of the officers' quick and continued actions with the help of the caller's tip and the passerby contributed to the man living through the near overdose.

The five officers will be nominated for life-saving awards within the department. A committee of members from within the police department and the community review the nominations and give out awards annually at a ceremony in May. DeSpain said between 10 and 15 officers usually receive life-saving awards every year, but there’s no cap on how many awards are given.

The report said the man the officers saved had previously been addicted to heroin but was clean for two years when he took the drug Wednesday in a suicide attempt.

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