Posted on 12/30/2011

SEYMOUR, IN--A 56-year-old Seymour man may likely received an early Christmas present from an unlikely source — two police officers. And if the man doesn’t feel that way, the two officers do.

“It made my Christmas,” Officer Mat Carver said of his role in helping the man, who was suffering from severe cardiac arrest.

Officer James Handley, who is Carver’s field training officer, agreed. “We’re on Cloud Nine,” Handley said of the incident that occurred just two days before Christmas.

Seymour Capt. Don Walker said many will claim that Handley and Carver were just doing what was expected of them or what they are paid to do. “This is true,” Walker said. “However, rarely does one get to save a life of another human being, whether you are a first responder or just your average citizen.”

Walker said he could not release the name of the man Handley and Carver are credited with saving because of privacy regulations. Walker said, however, he is at Columbus Regional Hospital and is no longer in critical care.

The duo arrived 45 seconds after receiving the 911 call. “When we arrived there he was unconscious (and there) was no heartbeat,” Handley said. The man wasn’t breathing, his neck and head were blue and he had no heartbeat, Carver said.

The two officers began giving the man CPR.

“He started giving him breaths, and I started (chest) compressions,” Handley said. “This guy had 100 percent of our attention. We didn’t say four words.” He said he also opened up the automatic external defibrillator (AED) each officer carries in his car as the two continued CPR, switching places.

Handley said Officer Brian Williams arrived shortly after he and Carver did. “I asked him to remove the pads from the package,” Handley said of Williams. The pads were then placed on the man’s chest, and the defibrillator started doing its job.

“It advised us to shock (him) and so we did,” Handley said. “At that point he began breathing on his own and had a heartbeat.” Seymour firefighters and personnel with Jackson County Emergency Medical Services then arrived and took over the man’s treatment.

Walker said officers, who also are classified as first responders, have to undergo training on using the AED every two years.

Because he is a probationary officer, Carver just underwent his training a couple of weeks ago. “It was good that I could put that training to use,” Carver said. He added it’s also a great way to start his career.

Handley said it was just great to know that he had the chance to make a difference in someone’s life. “This guy had a family and they had the chance to be with him through Christmas,” Handley said.

Ironically, Walker said that he had just put a new battery in Handley’s AED less than an hour before the call. “Handley came into my office that morning and said his AED wasn’t working properly and beeping,” Walker said.

Fortunately, the officers immediately remedied the situation and were prepared.