An officer with the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Police Department used his quick thinking and training to save a man suffering from a cardiac arrest at the Pittsburgh International Airport on October 9.
The day started just like any other for Officer Marc Pruchnitzky, who had been on duty for less than an hour when he received an urgent medical emergency call through his walkie-talkie.
A 43-year-old man had collapsed and was in grave distress, showing signs of cold sweats, dizziness and unresponsiveness.
Without hesitation, Pruchnitzky raced to the scene, arriving within 30 seconds.
Moments after Pruchnitzky’s arrival, a good Samaritan at the airport grabbed an automated external defibrillator (AED) from the wall. The timing was perfect; the AED arrived just as the officer did.
Reflecting on the incident, Pruchnitzky emphasized the importance of strategically placing AEDs throughout the airport, ensuring they are readily accessible to the public.
“A good bystander recognized there was something going on and brought the AED. The AED arrived just as I arrived, and it made the entire process extremely convenient, and it helped save that man’s life,” he noted.
With the AED in hand, Pruchnitzky administered an electric shock to the man’s heart, followed by a round of CPR.
He shocked the man a second time, and during that second round of CPR, the man miraculously regained consciousness. He was able to speak with the officer, providing his name and details about his destination, effectively coming back from the brink of life-threatening cardiac arrest.
“When I went to attempt the second round of CPR, midway through the CPR the male came back to consciousness,” Pruchnitzky said.
Pruchnitzky expressed his relief and gratitude for the positive outcome.
“I was just very thankful that he was able to come back out of it, and I was just so happy that he was able to speak to me after the incident,” he stated.
The man was swiftly transported to a hospital for further medical attention, with Pruchnitzky’s actions serving as a critical lifeline in his survival.
While the officer remains unaware of the man’s current condition, he received word that the individual had been admitted to the hospital.
Pruchnitzky also spoke about the need for regular CPR and AED training, saying that these skills should be in every individual’s repertoire.
As a part of the Allegheny County Police Department, officers undergo annual training to ensure they are prepared to respond to emergencies effectively, which, as demonstrated in this case, can make all the difference in a life-or-death situation.