ELLSWORTH, Maine -- A local police officer is being credited with saving the life of a local man Monday after the man went into cardiac arrest.
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Officer Gil Jameson, a 29-year veteran with the local police department, was on patrol in his cruiser on Shore Road around 6:45 a.m. when he was notified that an ambulance had been sent to a medical call at a house on North Street, a short distance away. Jameson went to the location and found that a 63-year-old man was unresponsive and had a faint pulse, Ellsworth Police Chief John DeLeo said Tuesday.
The man's wife was on the phone with dispatchers when Jameson arrived, the chief said. Jameson spoke on the phone with the dispatchers about the man's symptoms but then, before emergency medical technicians with County Ambulance arrived, the man stopped breathing and his pulse stopped.
Jameson performed CPR which, according to DeLeo, is required training at Maine Criminal Justice Academy because of situations just such as the one Jameson found himself in on Monday. By compressing the man's chest to keep his blood flowing, Jameson was able to keep the man alive until medical personnel arrived.
DeLeo said that it is rare for officers to use CPR on the job. He said he could recall local officers using it only "a handful" of times since he joined the Ellsworth Police Department in 1976.
"If he'd been up in northern Ellsworth [miles away], it would have been a different story," DeLeo said in reference to Jameson's location when the call came in. "He was in the right place at the right time."
On Tuesday, Jameson estimated that he did chest compressions for two or three minutes before the EMTs showed up.
"I was happy to see them," he said.
The man was taken by ambulance to Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth before being transported by LifeFlight helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Jameson said. The officer said he's been told the man is still at EMMC in stable condition.
"It was a good day," Jameson said.
Jameson noted that his CPR certification has lapsed, but that applying it is kind of like riding a bike. Once you do it a few times, you don't forget how.
Being out and about in his community and helping people is one of the main things Jameson says he likes about being a police officer.
"We never know what we're going to come across," he said. "It's always a good feeling when you get to help people."