Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A LIFE SAVED : Dispatcher who did her job meets man she helped keep from dying


August 25, 2009 7:33 AM

After saving a man's life by calmly sticking to protocol under the most frightening of circumstances, a Santa Barbara County public safety dispatch supervisor was honored Monday afternoon with an Emergency Medical Dispatch CPR Save Award.

Tuesday's ceremony, held at the Santa Barbara County Public Safety Dispatch Center, marked the first time Shannon Hoogenbosch met the cardiac arrest victim whose life she is credited with saving on June 27, 56-year-old Orcutt resident Mike Hanneman.

On that particular day, Ms. Hoogenbosch took the 9-1-1 call related to Mr. Hanneman, learning that he was unconscious and not breathing.

After sending firefighters and paramedics to the scene, she provided instructions to Mr. Hanneman's family that ultimately saved his life.

County Health Department representative Marc Burdick took the opportunity Monday to praise Ms. Hoogenbosch for ensuring that Mr. Hanneman's family members took every step possible to save his life until help arrived, particularly performing CPR.

"She kept telling them to keep going until we got there," said Mr. Burdick, who explained that a defibrillator was eventually used on Mr. Hanneman. "After the second shock, he started to get his heartbeat back."

The importance of CPR was a theme of the ceremony.

Dr. Angelo Salvucci, the medical director of the county's Emergency Medical Services, also expounded upon the vital role of the life-saving technique and said everyone should learn how to perform it.

"Because CPR was done and done correctly," he said, "...(Mr. Hanneman) is here to talk to us today."

Dr. Salvucci then pointed out that the saving of Mr. Hanneman's life was a process accomplished through a "chain of survival," in which "the link representing the dispatch" was especially crucial.

He emphasized the point that were it not for Ms. Hoogenbosch, Mr. Hanneman may not have been present at Monday's gathering.

"If any of you listened to the (9-1-1) tape, you'd understand," he said.

Mr. Hanneman spoke next, briefly but memorably.

"I just wanted to thank Shannon for her professionalism," he said. "All I know is that I survived, and I survived because of the efforts of everyone it took."

Santa Barbara County Undersheriff Ken Shemwell used his time to praise Ms. Hoogenbosch, explaining that she would not praise herself.

"She's going to act like, 'Well, this is not that big a deal; I was just doing my job,' " he said. "This is her second (Emergency Medical Dispatch) CPR Save Award."

He called Ms. Hoogenbosch's efforts "fantastic," emphasizing that while she is modest, others recognize the impact of her accomplishments.

"I'm even more pleased that Mr. Hanneman is here today," he said, turning to Mr. Hanneman, who wore an appropriately lively green shirt to the ceremony, and he added with a handshake, "It's great to have you here."

Ms. Hoogenbosch spoke very positively of the inspirational experience.

"It's a good feeling," she said and quickly corrected herself, saying, "It's an awesome feeling to know that you saved somebody's life."

She said one of the most important aspects of a dispatcher's work is insisting on calmness from someone who has been forced to call 911.

"The caller was pretty hysterical," she said. "You've just got to keep reminding them."

She provided some words of wisdom for those who ever have to call 911 for emergency services.

"I know the situation's hard," she said, "but just try to stay calm."

As for meeting Mr. Hanneman, Ms. Hoogenbosch described it as having "come full circle."

"I'm very modest and very quiet about it," she said, "but it's a great feeling."

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