Cops keep their cool to save a life

Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Mt Barker Police Constable Kai Panton and Senior Constable Alan Somerville.
Camera IconMt Barker Police Constable Kai Panton and Senior Constable Alan Somerville. Credit: Laurie Benson/Picture: Laurie Benson, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

On a rural property with no phone reception, faced with a woman with no pulse, the composure and training of two Mt Barker police officers saved a life.

Senior Constable Alan Somerville and Probationary Constable Kai Panton were called out to a rural property near Perillup on Wednesday last week where a woman was in need of assistance

They arrived to find the woman convulsing on the ground.

With no phone signal and ambulances kilometres away, they used a defibrillator, CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to keep the patient alive.

An example of how first aid training can save lives, the heroic tale has had a happy ending — the woman was brought out of an induced coma and released from hospital yesterday.

Mt Barker police officer in charge Sergeant David Johnson said his officers could not find the woman when they first arrived, and followed tyre tracks in the mud to find her lying by a car.

“During that period they noticed she changed colour and went blue and fell out of consciousness and lost her pulse,” Sgt Johnson said.

“The guys kicked into action but unfortunately there were no phone telecommunications and our portable radios weren’t working so there was a mad dash between the car and the patient in order to relay messages to Albany to organise other medical assistance. When she lost her pulse, the guys had their defibrillator ready.

“They attended to her on the ground and had to commence CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to keep the patient alive.

“They did their job and were able to get her pulse back and get her breathing while they waited for the ambulance to alive, which they believe was about half an hour.”

The RAC rescue helicopter landed in the paddock and took the woman to Bunbury Hospital.

She was placed in an induced coma and has since recovered.

Sgt Johnson said it was fantastic to see the police officers step up.

“We weren’t expecting to be confronted with that scenario but we were, and the boys’ training kicked in,” he said.

“They did what they needed to do. To have a positive outcome is wonderful news. It was very stressful for them and they were quite spent when they returned to the station. I think the fact that they were isolated with no phone communications — they didn’t have that luxury. They had to make the best of a bad situation working on the ground in pretty ordinary conditions.

“They were able to get her back to life and watch her colour come back and her breathing start.”

After the lack of phone signal hindered their efforts, Sgt Johnson said he had made an application for a satellite phone.

“It is just one of those things with technology, and it does cause me some concern, but at least we had the radio in the car,” he said.

“We were able to manage with what tools we had.”

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