While pursuing an individual on foot through a remote wooded area, Patrol Officer Christopher Corbett made a tactical decision that probably saved his life. “I wasn’t going to catch him, so I went back to my car to try and head him off.”
Officers from the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office and the Carthage Police Department in Missouri learned the importance of the link between preparedness and positive outcomes when their colleague Christopher Corbett suffered a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in those woods.
Chief Deputy Derek Walrod arrived to assist Christopher just as he returned to his car on the far side of the railroad tracks, well away from the view of passing cars. “I began feeling dizzy,” Christopher recalls. Deputy Walrod opened the car door so that Christopher could rest. “Before I could sit down, everything went black and I collapsed,” he says.
Deputy Walrod thought Christopher was having a seizure. He requested medical help and put him into the recovery position. “He was snoring loudly, and his eyes had a white glaze just before they rolled back into his head. All of a sudden I couldn’t get a pulse, the snoring stopped, and he wasn’t breathing at all,” Officer Walrod recalls.
He recognized the signs of sudden cardiac arrest and rolled Christopher onto his back to begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). “I couldn’t get his vest undone, so I began chest compressions.”
I’m so appreciative for ZOLL making a great product and forever grateful for the people who helped and were in the right place at the right time.Officer Christopher Corbett,
Word spreads and support arrives
Officer Walrod performed CPR for eight minutes before fellow officers from the Sheriff’s department were able to come to his aid. Deputy Mark Neidert took over CPR while Deputy Walrod updated their chief on Christopher’s condition. Christopher briefly regained a pulse several times but couldn’t sustain it.
Carthage Fire Department arrived on scene, along with officers from Carthage City Police. Working together, the rescuers connected Christopher to a ZOLL® AED Plus® defibrillator kept in one of the Carthage patrol cars. The AED analyzed his heart, determined a shock was necessary, and delivered the first of two defibrillating shocks he would need. Rescuers continued to deliver CPR as advised by the AED until EMS arrived. Christopher regained consciousness while EMTs were starting an IV and analyzing his heart rhythm.
Christopher was transported directly to the local hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab about 25 minutes away, where doctors inserted a stent to open up a completely blocked left anterior descending artery (LAD). He was in recovery just 13 minutes after the start of the procedure and back home four days later.
Training and equipment lead to positive outcome
Deputies from the Jasper County Sheriff’s office along with Brett Hensen and Rick Williams from the Carthage Fire Department were quick to recognize the signs of SCA and knew what to do in the minutes before EMTs arrived to help Christopher. And Carthage police officers were equipped with the tools to assist them. The collaborative effort led to an outstanding example of interagency cooperation with the best possible result.
Officer Christopher Corbett, SCA survivor.
After witnessing the importance of the right training and tools for these situations, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office applied for grant funding to outfit all 38 patrol cars with AEDs. They’re now more prepared than ever to assist and support the 117,000 residents that live in the 650 square miles of Jasper County, Missouri.
Christopher spent a few days in the hospital and was back to work on light duty within three weeks. He’s now back to work full time as a detective without any restrictions.
“Everything lined up the way it should have. I’m forever grateful for the people who helped and were in the right place at the right time,” says Christopher.