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Home > Topics > Cardiac Care

EMT questions response for collapsed runner who died

A race volunteer and EMT in another city rushed over and didn't feel a pulse; he's concerned medics didn't start CPR but they say she did have a pulse


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A man who witnessed the collapse of a teenager at the Shamrock Half Marathon has concerns about the medical response. 10 On Your Side brought his questions to Virginia Beach EMS officials Monday.

The concerned citizen said he was up all night thinking about what he saw, wondering if more could have been done to save 16-year-old Cameron Gallagher of Richmond. The man is an EMT from another city who happened to be volunteering at the finish line Sunday.

Gallagher collapsed 50 yards after the finish line. The witness said he rushed over to Gallagher and checked her pulse before medics arrived, and she didn’t have one. He said he became worried when medics did not perform CPR.

“Him not feeling a pulse, I cant explain it,” said EMS Division Chief Ed Brazle. “There was a pulse for sometime after that incident occurred.”

Read full story: Va. Beach EMS explains response to collapsed runner

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Andrew Mihok Andrew Mihok Tuesday, March 18, 2014 1:37:12 PM If he checked the pulse and there was none why didn't he engage?
Casy Byrd Casy Byrd Tuesday, March 18, 2014 1:39:00 PM Why did he not start CPR?
Kayla Linn Fleener Kayla Linn Fleener Tuesday, March 18, 2014 1:40:40 PM .....So he didn't feel a pulse..... So why didn't he start CPR??
Casey Wetzel Casey Wetzel Tuesday, March 18, 2014 1:41:28 PM CPR and have someone get an AED while he is doing compressions at least.
David Rosen David Rosen Tuesday, March 18, 2014 1:43:14 PM My first question is why didn't the EMT start CPR as soon as he checked and believed the patient didn't have a pulse? Is he throwing virginia beach EMS under the bus because of his own guilty conscious which kept him up all night? As an EMT I'm ashamed to call him a brother for not doing what he was trained to do and then pointing fingers at others. Shame on him
Mike Pitassi Mike Pitassi Tuesday, March 18, 2014 1:43:45 PM Some more gotcha news networks! I’m sick of this.. Some random guys says something and it makes the evening news? This hurts everyone in EMS...
Garry Watkins Garry Watkins Tuesday, March 18, 2014 1:44:37 PM It's alarming g how many healthcare providers cannot adequately check pulses. If she didn't have one (or wasn't breathing?) he should have started compressions before condemning others. For me, the complaint about the tent raises a red flag regarding the EMT's further pontificating.
Jennifer Fuller Jennifer Fuller Tuesday, March 18, 2014 1:52:52 PM How about instead of people pointing fingers, they feel love and good feelings for her poor family! And if more could have been done, that's awful. But, it seems people are forgetting a young girl passed away.
Chris Starkey Chris Starkey Tuesday, March 18, 2014 1:56:18 PM personally I would have started and worked the arrest till I dropped. or help arrived. and yes I have worked bunch of arrests.
Jo Stew Jo Stew Tuesday, March 18, 2014 1:57:19 PM He should have started CPR if he is an EMT as he says
Dustin Wagner Dustin Wagner Tuesday, March 18, 2014 2:04:23 PM Maybe there was actually a pulse but low b/p with an underlying cause not treated appropriately that led to her ultimate demise of cardiac arrest.
Hyatt Hostetler Hyatt Hostetler Tuesday, March 18, 2014 2:09:11 PM I think I'm going to take the medics' side on this one. I don't think this man was competent if he felt for a pulse, didn't feel one, then waited for EMS to show up without starting CPR. Perhaps she had a thready pulse when they arrived and something occurred en route. Would be interested to see what is written on the PCR for this one. Either way. RIP
Jennifer Phares Jennifer Phares Tuesday, March 18, 2014 2:15:34 PM I don't know why he didn't start CPR on her?!
Perry Churchill Perry Churchill Tuesday, March 18, 2014 2:16:47 PM So let me get this right, this EMT was one of the first to get to her, recognize that she did not have a pulse and he is wondering why the paramedics that arrived later didn't start CPR.... Was he waiting on someone in an authoritative position to tell him to start compressions?
Dave Lightner-Beitz Dave Lightner-Beitz Tuesday, March 18, 2014 2:17:40 PM My thoughts exactly, why did he not start CPR? Instead of waiting for the Medics to do such.
Wojciech Woloszynek Wojciech Woloszynek Tuesday, March 18, 2014 2:18:59 PM Why are u wondering about pulse? ABC is clear and bright like a sun. A? Opened, B? -no? Check pulse if u dont have any equipment for ventilation stary CPR is that so difficult?
Tim Thomas Tim Thomas Tuesday, March 18, 2014 2:28:44 PM I think that the EMT from the other city needs to refresh his skills before treating anyone else. He either can't check a pulse properly OR he forgot ABC's.
Kimberly Silva Kimberly Silva Tuesday, March 18, 2014 2:29:52 PM If you do not know how to feel for a pulse you might not feel one even when there is one present
Cindy Ferrucci Cindy Ferrucci Tuesday, March 18, 2014 2:44:50 PM He should have started CPR and advise the medics when they arrived. For them not to hook her up to check is wrong, especially with someone so young. Better to try than not try!
Anthony Siciliano Anthony Siciliano Tuesday, March 18, 2014 2:57:32 PM I would have to say this is a person who is only looking for attention. This was a tragic event and this person has absolutely no clue what he is talking about. He didn't feel a pulse but did nothing about it. I think the EMTs, Paramedics and Physicians on the scene have more credibility than some unnamed EMT. My heart goes out to this girl, her family and the medical providers who provided care
David Rosen David Rosen Tuesday, March 18, 2014 3:00:14 PM I respectful disagree. This is a site for all things EMS so it's very appropriate to discuss someone's action or lack thereof. And with regards to forgetting about the fact that this young lady lost her life - I don't think anyone one of us has forgotten that. It's tragic and sad and I'm sure we all are upset by this.
Terry Broyles Terry Broyles Tuesday, March 18, 2014 3:07:46 PM How can he point a finger at anyone? He should have been the one to start cpr,
Avanza Vaile Avanza Vaile Tuesday, March 18, 2014 3:25:49 PM I remember when I used to go over and over a run wondering if I could have done things differently. In the end, the answer is always "No, because this is how it turned out." It's good to care, it's good to analyze. It's not good to accuse other EMT's and medics of not being able to do their jobs competently. They have protocol that they have to follow and peers and providers who are all checking along the way. It truly is disheartening to lose a young person.
Alu Axelman Alu Axelman Tuesday, March 18, 2014 3:29:51 PM There isn't anywhere near enough info in this article.
B Dwayne Armstrong B Dwayne Armstrong Tuesday, March 18, 2014 3:37:49 PM I say shame on the EMT... He didn't find a pulse , didn't start CPR, maybe the blame lays on his doorstep. Maybe HE's to blame
Dan Fantino Dan Fantino Tuesday, March 18, 2014 3:49:59 PM If this "EMT" did not feel a pulse, then he should have initiated CPR as we are trained to do. I agree that he is only looking for attention and it's shame he is trying to undermine the efforts of the medical providers who were on scene. I was at this race as one of the EMTs. I was not near the incident when it occurred, but I'm 100% sure that my fellow responders did everything they could for this young girl. This "EMT" should be ashamed that he did nothing if he claims he did not feel a pulse. Or better yet, go back to EMT class and learn how to properly palpate a pulse.
Adriana Rocha Adriana Rocha Tuesday, March 18, 2014 4:09:59 PM Why he didn't do CPR himself after checked no pulse?
Anne Lynch Anne Lynch Tuesday, March 18, 2014 4:39:06 PM Yes, this is a very tragic incident and one that no one in Virginia Beach wants to see repeated. However, this EMT knows CPR just as every BLS or ALS healthcare provider is required to. We hear repeated stories in the news of very small children and their acts of heroism that saved others whether it was calling 911, getting help administering an Epi-Pen or starting CPR. Don't be fooled, this person was not comfortable enough with his own skills (or lack thereof) to take action. If he laid awake at night with this young girl's death on his mind then maybe, just maybe, it wasn't because of the lack of action on anyone's part but his own.
Arakel Mikaelian III Arakel Mikaelian III Tuesday, March 18, 2014 4:57:13 PM I am a little bit pro-medic because I am one, but if this EMT didn't feel a pulse like he said, then the questions is valid from everyone. Why didn't he start CPR? Plus not to sound like medics can't make mistakes, but we have something called a cardiac monitor. Any first day medic would have put this woman on a cardiac monitor, and checked her pulse to see if it matched, just to make sure she wasn't in PEA or some rhythm we could shock or some rhythm that requires pumping and moving. Now, I am not sure how long this person reporting this has been in EMS, but lets face the facts he could have been in the wrong location to feel a pulse. The full story of this has yet to come out, but I am sure that the state health department will look into something like this now. At least I hope they do and if nothing else if this EMT does in fact state that she didn't have a pulse and he didn't start CPR, he needs to retake his EMT-Basic, and also the national exam.
Arakel Mikaelian III Arakel Mikaelian III Tuesday, March 18, 2014 5:06:13 PM Its very important for us as professional providers to talk about calls, and statements and actions like this. It is also of major importance for us to weed out the fame seekers, and the shit pot kickers. This EMT has done a few things that hurt not only the patients family, but himself, those on scene and the EMS profession as a hole. His actions if true, not just make him guilty of not providing proper care, but also dereliction of duty, and failure to provide patient care. All of which in some if not most states a criminal offense. He didn't feel a pulse and did nothing. This statement makes him either stupid or incompetent, neither one is someone I want in EMS, people like this like to feel power, and think they are cool going to a dialysis call with lights on and blowing the air horn. It is our duty as professionals to hold ourselves, and those around us to a higher standards of professionalism.
Nikolaus Nuernberger Nikolaus Nuernberger Tuesday, March 18, 2014 5:11:25 PM Should have started CPR to her
Anthony Castelli Anthony Castelli Tuesday, March 18, 2014 5:51:58 PM Pull his license! To claim to be an EMT, then not function within your scope of practice is just malfeasance. You initiated patient care when you took the pulse. Should have started CPR once you saw there was no pulse cupcake!
Donna Baer Donna Baer Tuesday, March 18, 2014 6:08:21 PM I'm troubled by two things in this incident. First, this "EMT" was working as a volunteer at the finish line--as what? A tape holder? A time keeper? Or as a MEDICAL volunteer watching for folks having issues? Even if he was not there in an official capacity, one has a duty to act if you witness an arrest. If he truly did not feel a pulse and did nothing, he was and is at fault. If he was wrong, she had a pulse (even a weak one) and then as the article indicates arrests at the medical tent, kudos to the folks who did everything they could to save her and were unable to. My second question is why in the world this poser took his concern to the news media instead of the officials running the scene at the race. That is outside the respect circle you owe to everyone in this profession and by going to the media instead he has put a big target on his own back. Sad enough incident, traumatic enough for the folks who worked it but to then have someone throwing stones via the news media is unacceptable. Hope if this man is licensed, he loses it. Prayers for the family of this young victim.
Drew Richard Wort Drew Richard Wort Tuesday, March 18, 2014 6:24:09 PM EXACTLY as an emt I would have started cpr right then and there!
Harry A Struppa Harry A Struppa Tuesday, March 18, 2014 6:36:24 PM If he did not feel a pulse he should have confirmed in at least 2 locations then why is there no mention of respirations I'd they was no spontaneous breathing then cpr should have been initiated even if the pulse was weak when medics arrived they should have atl at least confirmed with a monitor or even a pulse ox that there was a pulse correlating 1:1 with a monitor that EMT Should be questioning what occurred just because someone is a Paramedic that doesn't mean they are automatically right on their assessment if I did not feel that a pulse wad not present I would make sure the medics ensured me that they're wad one or I would have made an issue or job is not to prove who is the best but we have an obligation to do what is right for our patient and if toy volunteer to provide medical aid then you should have given aid. I own a company in Ca and we specialize in special events and marathons happen to be our specialty what alot of people don't understand you are dealing with medical situations outside the normal realm due to metabolic and physiological that occur in marathon conditions but your always start with the basics no pulse you pump no breath you blow
Andrea DeGroat Byrum Andrea DeGroat Byrum Tuesday, March 18, 2014 7:45:08 PM Witnessed collapse, no pulse, but no CPR? And he still has his cert?
Jack Knudsen Jack Knudsen Tuesday, March 18, 2014 8:57:08 PM If there was no pulse why did he not begin cpr?
Joseph Larson Joseph Larson Tuesday, March 18, 2014 9:20:42 PM If he was an EMT he is trained to administer high quality CPR. He should lose his certificate for not acting in his scope of practice even being off duty. Even more so if he was on duty.
John Geraghty John Geraghty Wednesday, March 19, 2014 12:40:47 AM doesn't he have a duty to act here?
Cholly Ogden Cholly Ogden Wednesday, March 19, 2014 6:18:21 AM Agreed
George Yaworski George Yaworski Wednesday, March 19, 2014 7:50:03 AM Don't feel a pulse, start CPR and get an AED onsite,PDQ! Bystander CPR saves lives too! So start it yourself. The question that I would ask is why the long time in the tent without transfer to advanced care? Barring significant damage a young person is an excellent candidate for implanted cardiac devices.
Lu Bohmer Lu Bohmer Wednesday, March 19, 2014 8:00:01 AM No pulse, start CPR, not that hard to remember. I am sure it will all come out in the inquest, but nothing will bring this young lady back. RIP from Australia
Logan Parker Logan Parker Wednesday, March 19, 2014 9:10:47 AM Very sad...interested to see what the autopsy reveals. Either way I agree this so-called EMT bystander should've began CPR if he didn't feel a pulse. When the medics arrived, and they confirmed a pulse..the pt may have been in a respiratory failure/arrest..not sure why this was not a resuscitation. Something is not right.
Jamie Bingham Jamie Bingham Wednesday, March 19, 2014 9:58:11 AM I'd like to know more of the situation. I am concerned that very often we do have a bystander with training or simply with VERY vital information about the scene and situation or, as happened many times with a partner in my career, we get to scene, often just the 2 of us at first and while a bystander is holding perfect c-spine my EMT partner takes over c-spine (when they didn't need to) and "dismisses" the bystander with a "sir, you need to get back" when reality is they didn't need to "get back" and now my partner is of zero use to the me and is 100% locked into c-spine until the last minute and last thing when the patient is secured to the board. I can't always tell if it's ignorance, ego, or what, but we often want to take charge and control things so bad (yeah yeah I know about controlling a scene, but that doesn't mean losing valuable resources) that we miss important facts or excellent help, and most of all critical information. I don't know about this situation in the article, but I am just playing Devil's advocate (and admittedly I learned many of my lessons the hard way). This just happened recently to me in Flagstaff Arizona. Witnessed a young lady having a gran mal seizure and we helped her safely to the ground (she was sitting). A flagstaff older woman paramedic got on scene and instead of getting ANY report of the situation she yelled about needing "people to get back and give her some room." All hail the queen. There was only two of us with the girl and no one else but fire first responders around (they were great). She then asked NOTHING about what happened. NOTHING. Must be nice to know it all .......we'll actually it is......:-)
Richard Berger Richard Berger Wednesday, March 19, 2014 11:55:32 AM I'm with the consensus. If the unnamed EMT from another jurisdiction didn't feel a pulse, I'm sure the rules, regulations, and policies from the EMT's home area would have indicated starting CPR. THAT is probably universal amongst EMS agencies.
Michael John McCabe Michael John McCabe Wednesday, March 19, 2014 12:58:10 PM Exactly if he is really EMS then he should have immediately initiated compressions, not try to get is face in the news.. To me I would make him negligemt and he should suffer the consequences for not assisting in helping this pt.!!!!
Michael John McCabe Michael John McCabe Wednesday, July 30, 2014 7:21:44 PM And not to mention check for breath sounds and then check for pulse and begin resuscitation effort regardless of what happened. She collapsed and he is an EMT from another city if its anything like any other state he is bound by the Duty to Act once he initiated First Responder efforts and his volujteering at the race does not take precedent over his Duty to Act!!! He should be brought up on charges of neglect and abandonement for his actions period. If he was my subordinate thats exactly what would have happened....

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