Officers awarded for life saving actions

4 mins read
From left: Chief Mark Lopez, Assistant Chief Rick Billian, Dave Ryan, Officer Wally Spencer. Not present: Officer Todd Burbank.

CARRABASSETT VALLEY – Four Carrabassett Valley police officers were recently awarded special commendations for life-saving actions in two different incidents.

On July 1 shortly after 10 a.m. Assistant Chief Rick Billian and Officers Wally Spencer and Todd Burbank responded to the 3100 block of Carrabassett Drive for a report of a man down, not breathing.

On arrival, the officers found Dave Ryan, a local first responder and medical professional, unresponsive on the living room floor at his house. Dave had been on the phone with his wife Robin when he collapsed; Robin, who worked as a dispatcher for CVPD prior to retirement, alerted friends who were staying at the property. The friends located Dave, initiated CPR, and called 911.

The officers ensured that Dave’s airway was open, took over CPR, and prepared an AED. They delivered one shock and resumed CPR; ultimately, they delivered five shocks and continued CPR until Dave regained a pulse and began sporadic breathing.

The officers continued care until NorthStar paramedics arrived. NorthStar reported that Dave had a good heart rhythm before they transported him.

Dave stated that he lost memory of 18 hours previous to the event. He was taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston for treatment and surgery, and said that he received excellent care there.

As a paramedic and travel nurse with ICU experience, Dave detailed exactly what had happened when the officers responded to the scene: while he was dead when they arrived, the combined use of the AED with appropriate CPR not only restarted his heart, but prevented brain death from lack of oxygen.

“It’s a miracle,” he said, thanking the officers during a brief award ceremony at the Ryans house.

Two months after the event, Dave will be returning to work as a travel nurse in Arizona for the winter.

“These type of calls are always hard and this call specifically involved a man that the responders know personally from his career in the Fire/Rescue/Nursing field. There is no doubt in my mind the actions of these officers saved a life on that day through their quick response, actions and experience and I would like to commend them for saving a life,” Police Chief Mark Lopez wrote in a commendation letter.

The second event occurred roughly two weeks later on July 13 around 12:45 p.m., when CVPD was dispatched for a man down, not breathing, in the Winterbrook condominium area at Sugarloaf. Initially, dispatch had difficulty securing the victim’s exact location. Officer Mike Yoder and Officer Spencer responded, located the victim, and communicated the exact location to dispatch for the responding ambulance.

On arrival Officers Yoder and Spencer found the man outside, unresponsive and not breathing. A friend had initiated compressions; officers set up the AED and found a strong pulse, directed the friend to cease compressions, and assisted with ventilation until NorthStar arrived to take over care. NorthStar administered a drug used for reserving an opiate overdose, and the man regained consciousness. He was transported to the hospital and later released.

“The actions of these officers saved a life on that day through their quick response, actions and experience and I would like to commend them for saving a life,” Lopez wrote.

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