First responders save lives every day. Sometimes it isn’t noticed but every once in a while, elected and appointed officials honor the heroics of firefighters, police officers and dispatchers.
Tonight, the Oak Lawn Village Board is expected to honor two Oak Lawn Police Officers who have received the Life Saving Award for saving a man on February 11th.
Officers Thomas Culhane and Todd Huttner were dispatched to a home in the first district of Oak Lawn. The call was for an ambulance but often police officers, who are already on the street, are closer to the address.
In this instance, men were rehabbing a home in the area of 89th and Austin when one of the workers fell to the ground and wasn’t breathing. When the two officers arrived on the scene, Culhane grabbed the AED from his squad car. AED stands for automatic external defibrillator and is a portable defibrillator designed to be automated such that it can be used by persons without substantial medical training who are responding to a cardiac emergency.
The other worker told the officers that the victim had been on the ground and unconscious for about five minutes. The officers were unable to detect a pulse and described the victim’s face as grey. Culhane began doing chest compressions while Huttner prepared the AED for use.
When an AED is properly used, a shock is given to the victim for the purpose of restarting the heart. As Culhane and Huttner continued working on him, the man began breathing on his own. Shortly thereafter the paramedics arrived and continued the lifesaving efforts begun by the two police officers.
By the next day, the man was able to speak while in the hospital. Officer Culhane visited the man that day.
Oak Lawn’s Chief of Police, Randy Palmer, has issued a Life Saving Award to the two officers noting that due to the officers’ ability to recognize the nature of the problem and the ability to perform CPR, the victim was saved and will recover from his life threatening medical condition.