Two off-duty members of the Walla Walla Fire Department, Lt. Eric Wood and Engineer Bryan McIntire, visited the Conconully, Washington, area, which is 20 miles northwest of Omak in the north central part of the state.
They were with Eric’s father, Dan Wood, who is the Assistant Fire Chief in Omak, when a call came over Dan’s radio reporting that a 73-year-old man went into cardiac arrest at a nearby restaurant. When Eric and Bryan arrived at the scene, two volunteers from the Conconully Fire Department had just positioned the patient on the ground. Since Eric and Bryan are paramedics, they assumed patient care duties. The law allows paramedics to relieve EMTs of patient care duties because paramedics are trained in many more life-saving medical procedures.
The patient did not have a pulse when Eric and Bryan arrived. For 15 minutes, they provided oxygen with a bag mask and performed CPR, preventing brain damage.
LifeLine Ambulance, Inc., a for-profit ambulance provider located in Okanogan, Washington, responded to the scene 21 minutes after the call to which Eric and Bryan had responded. After the patient was loaded into the ambulance, Eric and Bryan rode with him and continued to provide advanced life support. The ambulance transported the patient to a nearby state park, where an air evac helicopter had landed. The patient survived and was discharged from the hospital two days later with no lasting symptoms of the episode.
Wayne Walker, the general manager of LifeLine Ambulance, Inc., credited the firefighters with saving the man’s life. In an email to Walla Walla Fire Department Chief Bob Yancey, Wayne wrote, “Eric and Bryan assisted our team seamlessly after it arrived. Both of these paramedics are responsible for saving this persons life and are role models of professionalism by which other should be measured.”
Eric and Bryan will be commended for their actions at the 7 p.m., Aug. 24 City Council meeting at City Hall, 15 N. 3rd Ave., in Walla Walla.