TOQUERVILLE — An automated external defibrillator (AED) helped a Southern Utah police officer save two lives within two weeks. One of those heart-attack victims has organized a campaign to put an AED in every police cruiser.
Laverkin police officer Amber Crouse, who responded to Collard's 911 call, never forgot what happened that day in October when she saved Sharon Collard's life.
"No question — you can expect the unexpected,” Crouse said.
After hearing of the 43-year-old woman having a heart attack on Toquerville Falls Road, Crouse rushed to the scene.
"I knew I had to get there and help her out,” the officer said. "It seemed like forever."
By the time she got there, Collard had stopped breathing; Crouse began CPR. For 12 minutes, she remained focused on the task at hand.
"You just do what has to be done and what you've been trained to do,” she said.
Soon a Washington County Sheriff's Deputy showed up at the scene with an AED in hand. The machine ultimately saved Collard’s life.
"I'm very lucky that they kept oxygen going to my brain the whole time and my blood flowing through my heart,” Collard said.
Collard survived to talk about it, but following the incident she remained in the hospital for two weeks.
Two months later, Collard is trying to make a difference of her own. She's raising money to pay for an AED to be put in every police cruiser.
“We decided that we'd try and raise money to get some of those AEDs, at least one for Amber (Crouse)," Collard said.
Following Collard’s incident, three more AEDs were donated to the department — and it was just in time.
Two weeks later, another similar incident occurred.
"We were getting ready to leave and he just slumped forward," Lyla Tuttle recalled. "The color left his face and I just panicked — started calling 911."
Tuttle's husband had just had a heart attack, and when Crouse arrived she knew what she needed to do.
"The AED advised to shock a second time. At that point, the male started breathing and had a heart rate of his own,” Crouse said.
In two months, Crouse saved two lives. It was no small feat, but she said it's “unexpectedly expected.”
"I feel like I was just doing my job and any officer would have done the same thing,” Crouse said.
The Collards want to donate as many devices as they can, but the cost of one device alone is upwards of $2,000. Anyone interested in donating can do so online at Collard's GiveForward.com page.