Gresham police officer saves life using AED
Last week, a Gresham Police officer was able to put the automated external defibrillator (AED) in his cruiser to use during a roadside emergency, highlighting why the department pushed to have them funded and installed.
On Thursday, Jan. 18, Officer Jarom Sweazey was flagged down by a motorist near Interstate 205 and Northeast Glisan Street. He was told a driver for a Coca-Cola semi-truck had crashed into a barrier. Sweazey and two other citizens found the man unconscious and unresponsive in the cab of his truck. They described him as slumped over and purple in color.
After several minutes of chest compressions, Sweazey grabbed the AED from his patrol vehicle and administered the device, which delivered a shock to the driver. A short time later, American Medical Response arrived and took the driver to Portland Adventist.
The current status of the man is unknown, though he is still in the hospital. On Friday, Jan. 19, his heart stopped again, but they were able to restart it.
Sweazey's access to an AED unit in his patrol car probably saved the man's life, as he was the first person to arrive on the scene.
AEDs are portable electronic devices that automatically diagnose life-threatening heart ailments in patients. The devices can then be used for treatment through defibrillation, which is the application of electricity to help hearts reestablish effective rhythms.
Nationally, there are 300,000 sudden cardiac arrests every year, and the survival rate of those incidents is only about 8 percent. But AEDs improve the odds of survival.
Gresham Chief of Police Robin Sells issued a mandate that all new police vehicles must have an AED unit included, and has found several community members who have helped fund several devices.
This was the first field deployment of an AED for the Gresham Police Department.