By Jeff Gallatin
Police and firefighters rely on their
fellow safety workers to protect each other in life-threatening situations – and a retired police officer and firefighter recently thanked a North Olmsted officer in a letter for living up to that creed, by saving the older man’s life with CPR after his heart went into full arrest.
Patrolman Manny Roman received the letter for his administering CPR to a 62-year-old Hinckley man after responding to a call the morning of Dec. 4 at Grace Church of North Olmsted.
North Olmsted police Capt. Ron Cox said Roman’s fast actions saved the man’s life.
“He was flat-lining and wasn’t responding,” Cox said. “People often don’t come back when that’s the case, particularly when they’re not at a hospital, but Manny’s CPR brought him back.”
The Hinckley man, who served as a police officer and firefighter in another city for 36 years, declined an interview and asked not to be identified, and reiterated his thanks to Roman for his actions.
In his letter, the man lauds Roman for working to save his life in the emergency situation.
“I have never officially met you but I would love to,” he said in the letter. “I THANK YOU so much for all your help in saving my life on December 4 when I had a heart attack and stopped breathing on Dover Center Road. I have been in Police and Fire service for 36 years myself and there are very few times you bring someone back from the dead. You are one of the very few that have the honor. Now again, I want to thank you and when I am back on my feet I would like to meet you in person and thank you. I am going to send a copy of this to your chief because I think you should also be recognized for what you did for me that was above and beyond what you are here to do. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.”
Roman said the circumstances worked well to save the man’s life.
“Dispatch called with a report of a man having a heart attack,” Roman said. “I was near the BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) office writing a report, so I was very near the scene on Dover Center Road and was able to get there in about 20 to 30 seconds.”
Once there, Roman said he saw a passenger on the phone and a driver slumped over.
“The passenger was pretty upset, but I told him to start some chest compressions while I checked to see if I had a defibrillator (emergency medical equipment used to help heart attack victims kept in some police vehicles) in the squad car,” Roman said.
When Roman saw the emergency equipment wasn’t in the car, he immediately went back to the other vehicle.
“The driver wasn’t responding and appeared to be not breathing,” Roman said. “So, I began doing the CPR to try and get him breathing again. I was working with the passenger and we kept it up until the fire emergency squad got there and they were able to start work in bringing him back. Fortunately, they got there really fast and did a good job like they always do.”
Roman said he was focused on bringing the man back, but realized they were in a special situation.
“Incidents like that are why you take the (CPR) training and you become an officer with the intent of helping people,” he said. “When they put the guy in the squad, he had a pulse and was breathing again. I remember one of the firefighters told me ‘Hey Manny, you did a good job,’ so I knew then it had gone well.”
Roman, who joined the department in 1998, said this was the first time he had saved a life with the CPR training and acknowledged that it means something to him that he was able to save a former police officer and firefighter, but added it means the most that he was able to help someone in a life-threatening situation.
“Sure, we all try to have eachother’s backs when we’re out there working as officers,” Roman said. “So, I’m glad I was able to help another officer. But, we do the job because we’re supposed to be helping people. And this wasn’t just responding to a criminal call or taking care of a small problem. It means a lot because we saved someone who needed it.”
Roman said he will try and meet with the man.
“I’ll give him a call and when he’s up and feeling better, we’ll find a spot where we can meet and I’ll be glad to talk and shake his hand,” Roman said.
Cox said the department is looking to honor Roman, who was police officer of the year for the department in 2011, for his latest efforts.
“Manny’s a guy you want on the scene in a tight situation,” Cox said. “We’re going to put him in for a life-saving award. This one is pretty special, it’s the type of thing you want to hear about.”