Stonington police, Watch Hill firefighters save sailor having a heart attack
Stonington ― Two town police officers worked with the Watch Hill Fire Department to save the life of a man who was having a heart attack on a sailboat off East Beach in Westerly last week.
“We are very proud of our officers and all the responders’ actions as they worked together to save a life,” said Deputy Chief Todd Olsen on Wednesday.
Officers Jeffrey Hewes and Troy Powell were aboard the department’s boat patrolling the Pawcatuck River near Greenhaven Marina on Aug. 19 when they heard a call from a woman reporting that her 68-year-old husband, who had a history of heart problems, was having chest pains off East Beach in Westerly.
A police report indicates that the two officers responded and escorted the boat through the Watch Hill passage to meet fire department members.
“I’m so proud of our members; they did a fantastic job,” said Chief Dennis Reall of the Watch Hill Fire Department on Thursday.
Reall said conditions on the water were challenging with 12-foot seas, and firefighters had to jump from the fire boat to the sailboat.
“Right when we got on scene, the male patient collapsed and went into cardiac arrest,” he said.
Hewes operated the sailboat while two firefighters, Chris Moore and John Cango, quickly evaluated the man and began CPR before using an automatic external defibrillator to shock the man’s heart.
Reall said that the man regained a good pulse and consciousness and was even able to talk to the firefighters, while a good Samaritan with a United States Coast Guard captain’s license sailed the boat to Stonington Harbor Yacht Club. The man was taken to the hospital.
Reall explained that, due to the high seas, any other method of evacuation for the patient would have taken significantly longer, so they opted to use the man’s sailboat for transport to shore.
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