HolyCoast: A Disturbing Call

Monday, February 06, 2012

A Disturbing Call

Whenever I'm home working on the computer or just watching TV I usually have one earphone in my ear and I'm listening to fire dispatches from around Orange County.  I've been interested in public service radio broadcasts since I was a teenager and have always been the type that when I hear a siren I want to know where it's going and why.  Thanks to this internet site nearly every Orange County fire dispatch can be heard on your computer (you can't hear police dispatches in Orange County anymore since they're all encrypted).

A lot of the calls are routine medical aids, traffic accidents, food-on-the-stove kitchen fires and the like.  Occasionally something more serious or spectacular happens and I'm one of the first to hear it, such as the Knott's Berry Farm roller coaster accident in October of 2010 or the time two people decided to lay down on the train tracks almost within sight of my house and were killed by a Metrolink train.  I listened to both of those situations unfold on the radio (and actually went to the scene of the train crash) and had stories on HolyCoast.com before the local newspaper did.

Every now and then you hear something that's kind of disturbing.  During the latter stages of the Super Bowl yesterday I heard a dispatch for a cardiac arrest.  I don't remember now which agency had the call, and frankly cardiac arrest calls are not that uncommon, but this one stuck out.  It was reported to be a 65-year old man.  His wife was being instructed in CPR by the dispatcher and she was the only other person in the home.  Firefighters were told to enter the home without waiting for someone to answer the door because she wouldn't leave him.

It gave me kind of a sick feeling to think of that poor woman, all by herself, desperately trying to save her husband as she struggles during the several minutes it would take for the fire department to get there.  That's a terribly sad scene.

I don't know what the outcome was.  You don't usually hear on the radio how the calls turn out.  If there's a chance they can save him they'll keep trying until they get to the hospital.  I can only hope for the best.

And there is hope.  Earlier in the day I heard another full arrest call at the finish line of the Huntington Beach marathon.  It sounded like a runner who had managed to complete the course and then collapsed.  I've checked the newspapers and there are no reports of fatalities from that race, so I'm hoping the medics were able to get him back.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

It's yet another reminder of the daily drama that goes on all around us that we often never see.


Larry said...

There was a story on the national news a few years ago about a cow that escaped from it's pen. It made the news because they had video of the cow wandering aimlessly down the street and a major network broadcast it from coast to coast. That's the criteria for making the news these days -if it's absolutely meaningless, but they've got a video clip, it'll make national headlines while actual news gets edited out.

Sam L. said...

I can understand why the police calls are encrypted.

Anonymous said...

Hi there - I ran the Huntington Beach Half Marathon on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012.

If the call you heard for the cardiac arrest was right around 10:00 am, I was right there in the finish area when she crossed the line and collapsed. I couldn't believe my eyes.

I had finished about 10 minutes prior, and was still in the finish area waiting for my wife, who was behind me a bit. I saw this young woman go down, and the medical people were on her right away.

We knew it was serious when we saw them begin to flag other medical personnel over, including the EMTs and fire department. However I knew it was REALLY serious when the crowd parted and I got a look in her eyes - she was gone, fully dilated. They removed her shirt and began doing chest compressions and using the CPR bag on her. They even used the defibrillator, and we saw her body literally jump off the ground. It appeared that she began to breathe after that, and although it was a serious situation still, the medical folks seemed to relax a bit.

They carted her off and took her to the hospital I am sure. I have been in shock since then, and have also been kind of searching around looking to see if she made it through (that is how I found your blog post here). I have not seen mention of any deaths in connection with the 2012 race.


Rick Moore said...

M - I'm sure that's the same situation. Sounded like they were scrambling to get her to the hospital with CPR in progress. Not good, but I haven't seen anything in the paper talking about a death.