Elmhurst police officer saves two lives within a year
Elmhurst police officers are trained to use automated external defibrillators so they could help someone in cardiac arrest.
That specialized training -- and a knack for being in the right place at the right time -- helped an Elmhurst officer save the lives of two people within a 12-month period.
Officer Jason Litton recently received an award from the Elmhurst Police Department after he used an AED to save two men on separate occasions.
"I'm always pleased when our officers can save a life," Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth said.
An AED is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart following a sudden cardiac arrest.
Officials say a sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart abruptly and unexpectedly stops beating. If not treated within minutes, the victim will die.
In May 2018, a 55-year-old Elmhurst man was outside chatting with neighbors when he suddenly collapsed.
When Litton arrived at the scene on the 400 block of May Street, the victim had no heartbeat. So the officer deployed an AED and applied a shock to the victim. The patient was transported to Elmhurst Hospital and eventually made a full recovery.
Litton deployed an AED again April 21.
A 74-year-old Elmhurst man had just eaten a meal around noon when he complained about having trouble breathing and then lost consciousness.
As Litton and another officer arrived at the home on the 300 block of Shady Lane, the dispatcher said the victim didn't have a heartbeat and wasn't breathing.
"So he (Litton) immediately ran inside the house with the AED," Ruth said.
Once inside, Litton affixed the AED and administered a shock, which restarted the man's heart. When paramedics arrived, they administered emergency treatment and took the patient to Elmhurst Hospital.
In both recent cases, officials say Litton was the first officer to arrive on the scene and had the necessary equipment to deploy an AED.
Ruth said the department started putting AEDs in some patrol cars about eight years. But thanks to a $10,000 grant from Elmhurst Toyota in 2016, the department was able to purchase portable AEDs for all its patrol cars.
Elmhurst police officials say they're proud of Litton's service and thankful to Elmhurst Toyota for providing the money used to buy AEDs.
"Having them out in the field made the difference between life and death in these cases," Ruth said.
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