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Police officer saves woman in cardiac arrest

The officer, who is also a certified EMT, was outside a hospital when the woman collapsed

RICHMOND, Va. — A police officer in Virginia happened to be in the right place at the right time to save a woman who went into cardiac arrest.

VCU News reported that Virginia Commonwealth University police officer Ellsworth “Sonny” Pryor was called in to work on the campus to help handle service calls. Thanks to a last minute shift change, Pryor was parked at the top of the emergency department driveway instead of on the VCU Health Campus when a call for an unresponsive female came over the radio.

The woman fell to the ground inside of the hospital in full cardiac arrest. Pryor, who is a certified EMT, was parked outside and ran to the woman’s aid.

“The medic in me started kicking in and I started to observe if she was breathing or not,” Pryor said. “My first thought was, ‘Is she breathing?’ If not, then there would be no pulse shortly thereafter.”

Pryor instructed a bystander to retrieve an AED while he began CPR on the woman. Pryor delivered three shocks with the defibrillator. On the third shock, the woman’s heart started beating again.

Shannon Lubin, a nurse, program coordinator for VCU Health’s Rapid Response Team and one of the hospital staff that helped Pryor, credits Pryor’s quick reaction with saving the woman’s life.

“If you can shock someone in the first two minutes for certain arrhythmias or when advised to do so on an AED, that’s the best chance you have to save them,” Lubin said. “This lady is alive because of these officers … Officer Pryor did exactly what he was supposed to do.”