Marshall County Coroners save a life - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Marshall County Coroners save a life

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The job of a coroner is difficult. Everyday they deal with death, but for a couple of Marshall County Coroner's, Monday was different.

"It's amazing because we see so much sadness so it's a really great feeling to have this save," says Lisa Richards, deputy coroner.

You don't usually think of a coroner SAVING a life...

"We don't make the difference between living and not living as far as a coroner is concerned," says Bill Cleavenger, Marshall County Coroner.

But on Monday, Lisa and Bill DID make the difference. They were on their way back to Plymouth after wrapping up an on-scene investigation of a fatal accident on Highway 6 in Bremen.

"We were coming down Michigan and noticed a traffic jam ahead of us and then received the radio information as to what happened," says Bill.

They heard over the scanner that a man had a heart attack, then got into a car wreck at the intersection of North Michigan and Baker Street in Plymouth. Lisa and Bill were seconds from the scene.

"That was critical that we were there immediately when it happened," says Lisa.

They say the driver was in cardiac arrest when they arrived.

"We did what we were trained to do and fortunately we had the equipment with us," says Bill.

That equipment?  An AED. All Marshall County vehicles have this life saving device. The coroners were able to shock the victim and begin CPR.

"It was a very unusual experience, but it was very gratifying to know that both Lisa and I took part in helping save a man's life," says Bill.

Paramedics arrived quickly after, but the Plymouth Fire Chief says they could have been too late.

"30 seconds to a minute make a big difference in a cardiac arrest. They had a big part by getting the AED on him and starting CPR and getting oxygenated blood through the body is a big important plus to help save his life," says Chief Rod Miller.

One day, two different scenes and a chance for a pair of coroners to rescue instead of respond.

"It's a good feeling to be able to stand here knowing that we did make a difference," says Bill.

Fire Chief Miller says the driver is still alive and because of the immediate response of medical aid, it looks like he could make a full recovery.

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