Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills police save driver in cardiac arrest
Updated: December 9, 2012 6:07AM
HINSDALE — The quick response of two police officers probably saved a woman’s life after she crashed into a median on Route 83 last week.
The Hinsdale Village Board will recognize the officers with a life-saving award at its Nov. 6 meeting.
Hinsdale police officer Tim Lennox and Clarendon Hills Police Sgt. Paul Dalen were the first emergency responders to arrive when a car going south on Illinois 83 hit the median just north of 55th Street and stopped. Witnesses who called 911 reported the driver, who was still in the car, was vomiting.
When Dalen and Lennox reached the scene, the 72-year-old driver was not breathing and had no pulse, Clarendon Hills Police Chief Ted Jenkins said.
With the help of some other motorists who stopped to help, they got her out of the car and on the ground, where they attached an automatic defibrillator to her. After taking readings of her heart rhythms, the device administered an electric shock.
When the paramedics arrived and transported the woman to the hospital, she had a heartbeat and was breathing on her own, Jenkins said.
Doctors at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital determined the woman had a clot in one of her arteries, and performed surgery, Jenkins said.
“It was 47 minutes from the time we got the call to her being under the care of heart doctors in the operating room at Hinsdale Hospital,” Jenkins said. “That’s unheard of. (The hospital) assembled a heart team in that time. They don’t have heart surgeons standing around waiting for patients to come in.”
Jenkins believes the woman is alive “as a direct result” of Lennox’s and Dalen’s actions.
Police officials said on Tuesday, the woman was recovering in the hospital.
Hinsdale Police Chief Bradley Bloom said the woman probably suffered a heart attack while she was driving. Witnesses had reported she was driving erratically before she crashed and nausea is a symptom of cardiac arrest.
“It comes down to having the right equipment and the right training and being at the right place at the right time,” Bloom said.
All Hinsdale patrol cars have been equipped with automatic external defibrillators, or AEDs, since late 2009 or early 2010, Bloom said.
It was the second time each officer used the device to help someone. Lennox was one of the people who responded when a Civil War re-enactor suffered a heart attack during the 4th of July parade last year.
Previously, Dalen stopped on his way to court in Wheaton when he saw someone collapse on the sidewalk. He used his AED to restore the person’s heartbeat, Jenkins said.