Story 4

Last week’s post was about how a young female college student took her own life too soon for whatever reason, but I also mentioned that seeing her was not my first lifeless body. This story that occurred to me while on midnight shift was not my first dead body, but it was however my first time attempting CPR on someone who was literally dying in front of me. Unfortunately, no witnesses were available for this incident, but this incident at the same time could have been avoided by just calling the police to intervene much sooner. We get calls for everything else and everyone being suspicious for whatever reason that is given, but as you read this story you may get angry as to why they didn’t call the police sooner. I can’t remember the answer I was given by the two witnesses I interviewed, but I do remember feeling somewhat angry and disturbed that his actions, which were described to me in detail, were not considered to be abnormal. I apologize if this gets under your skin as it did me during this time of the incident.

Once again I was working the midnight shift, as you can probably see a trend here with my working hours, jaw-jacking with one of my fellow officers, who is now working in Texas, outside of our old police station in a parking lot. I believe the call came out at exactly 0230hrs, when the officer I was talking too was due to get off, when I was dispatched to respond on campus to a parking garage entrance with a male having a seizure. Obviously, I’m thinking I need to get there as quick as possible see the full scale of the situation, and who is this person having this episode. Well, I am only a few minutes away from the scene and continue to fly down U.S. Route 1 and then on to campus, where traffic is very light and basically no pedestrians to be seen. I call out to dispatch to tell them that I had arrived on scene, but also at the same time another officer arrived on scene, who also works as an EMT for the College Park Fire Department. He gets to the male patient first and immediately checks on him as I am exiting my patrol vehicle.

Before I could get even close to assist on the patient, the other officer yells at me to get my medical bag because we could have a crime scene present. This made me jump my adrenaline another notch or two as I am trying to get myself to save a life. When I ran over with the medical bag, my partner changed positions and left me with the duty to give compressions and check for pulse. At first, with this being my first time actually doing CPR on someone to save their life, my thoughts are running a million miles a minute, but quickly calmed myself down when my thoughts went to my tour experience over Afghanistan months prior. My heartbeat finally started to slow down and my thoughts slowed down enough for me to focus properly on what I was doing. Trying to save a life. When I first checked the wrist of the patient, he had a very slow and fading heartbeat, and his head was turned in my direction with his eyes halfway closed; as if he was looking directly at me or maybe I was his last sight on this earth. Only God knows that answer and I can only hope he passed away knowing we tried to help him.

I knew when I first started doing chest compressions, which we may be doing this with no successful result, but I was determined to do the best we possibly can to save him. Unfortunately, we were not able to save his life and by the time the ambulance crew arrived on scene, which seemed like an eternity, I saw the AED used for the first time on a real person. By that time he had no pulse for several minutes, and when they removed his body you could see parts of his brain on the cement, and his wrist watch exploded into three pieces. After hours of life saving measures, which it felt like for hours, the patient was removed by the ambulance and taken to the hospital. Several other officers, who responded to the scene after we did or maybe after the ambulance, began to check the top garage level to see if he was pushed or maybe shot and fell over the ledge. Scrummaging around the crime scene for any clues was a negative. One of our detectives, who was on call that evening, started their investigation right away and couldn’t see anything initially to what made him possibly commit suicide. Personally after the incident I felt like I was doing okay and didn’t have any nightmares later that night.

After doing our canvass of the outside of the garage and the grounds, my interview of the witnesses near the scene began. In interviewing these witnesses, two of them to be exact, saw the patient/victim at least a couple of hours ago in the computer WAM Lab, which is located on the ground floor of the garage of where we responded. While speaking to one of the witnesses, it was stated to me that everyone in the lab saw him acting strangely, playing with the water coming out of the water fountain, lying on his back with his feet on the wall next to the water fountain, talking to himself the entire time, and doing all other abnormal things that would cause a reasonable person to believe that something is not right with this person. I do believe the interview lasted for about nearly 45 minutes to an hour on scene, and I left the interview feeling frustrated and pissed at those two for not calling the police, which was on their mind prior to him jumping to his death. When he jumped off the top level of the garage, which is about four stories tall, he landed on his back with the back of his head bouncing off the concrete, obviously splitting it open. There is cameras all over the garage, and enough to see the entire top level, where he possibly came from and neither of the cameras caught him walking on the ledge, but did catch him on the top level at some point.

It would appear that we had lost another young man to the selfish act of committing suicide, but then again I don’t know if he suffered any mental issues that has been plaguing him for a long time, or something else. He had good grades and would talk to his family and friends with no indication that he wanted to hurt himself or others. It was definitely a sad scene to be a part of and this didn’t help get rid of the stigma I started to gain in acceptance of death no matter what call I go on, especially on welfare checks. I don’t want to sound cold like I didn’t have heart by not being too bothered it, but dealing with death for me is something I know is part of life and will happen, so I suppose it is something I have accepted more than I realize. At times nowadays I still think about all the deceased people I have dealt with and the incidents I dealt with them in, and that lets me know I will probably never forget them as long as I live. So far since that incident I have not had to use my CPR for anyone, on the job or at home. I still have many years to give in this profession, hopefully, and as time goes on and more tension builds between citizens and police officers, I’m pretty sure more stories will be coming your way from the Green Mountain State very soon. For now, remember what I mentioned before about paying attention to your loved ones, but also in that same statement you never know what a person might be thinking. So the treatment of someone can be very helpful and hurtful. You don’t want to be the person responsible for someone’s death because you treated them badly.

Henry Scott


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