2 officers help save life of soldier in cardiac arrest

Two police officers in Cumberland County are being hailed as heroes for their quick thinking during a response to a local soldier in cardiac arrest.

Corporal Gary Carver and Corporal James Peterson were on routine patrol near the Army National Guard Readiness Center in North Middleton Township when they heard a frantic 911 call come over their dispatch system.

“The first call came in saying the patient was suffering a seizure,” Chief Doug Reitz said. “The second call came in as a possible cardiac arrest.”

Carver and Peterson arrived on scene before EMS crews.

“Well, you only have minutes — when somebody's heart stops you only have minutes,” Peterson said.

As the pair approached the building, they were confronted by a soldier who said his 40-year-old wife, also a soldier, had collapsed while working out, and was unconscious inside the fitness center. To make matters worse, he'd locked himself out when he ran outside for help, so Peterson used his baton to break through the door.

“What was in my mind was to take action and make sure she survives because 40 years old — that's too young,” he said.

The woman was not breathing and they could not detect a pulse, so the officers used an automated electronic defibrillator from their patrol car, which then directed them to begin CPR. EMS arrived several minutes later and took over, transporting her to Carlisle Regional Medical Center.

Reitz said without his officers' quick-thinking, she may not have made it there at all.

“Because of that we were able to get her to that next level to get the care she needs, so hopefully in the long run she's going to be fine,” he said. “Keep your fingers crossed and pray for her — but it's because of this that it got her where she needed to be.”

Reitz said the woman is currently listed in critical condition at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. It's unclear why she went into cardiac arrest, but her husband told police she had no prior history of health problems.

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