HOWLAND – 911 is usually called when there is an emergency, but what if 911 has to call 911?
Thanks to the heroic efforts of Trumbull County’s dispatcher, Katelyn Bower, a suffocating Shana Murphy, also dispatcher, did not have to find out that answer Thursday afternoon.
“I knew I was in trouble,” Murphy recalled.
At around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, just after finishing a 911 chase in Liberty, Murphy was eating a steak when she began to choke. She said it felt like the piece of meat went wrong and she immediately knew something was wrong.
“I leaned back in my chair and tried to swallow harder so it would go down and it wouldn’t. I jumped up realizing I was in trouble, ”Murphy said.
A HEROIC ACT
Bower said Murphy looked like she was in distress and asked if she was choking.
“She nodded. I asked if she needed this secretly and she nodded again. I helped her as best I could,” said Bower.
Bower gave Murphy the Heimlich maneuver twice, she said. For Murphy, the second time was more frightening than the first.
“She had to do it a second time because when I moved my neck or something after she did it the first time, I got a little airflow, but then (the steak) completely nested itself,” Murphy said. “I knew at that point that I was in trouble because I had absolutely no air. If she hadn’t reacted and (Heimlich) had done as well as she did, I don’t know what the result would have been. “
It was the second time she had suffocated when Murphy said she was panicking a little. Murphy said she was grateful to Bower for acting so quickly.
“I thanked her for saving me,” Murphy said, telling of the time after she could breathe.
Murphy, a seven-year control center veteran, said she and Bower have been friends since Bower started at the control center a year and a half ago. At a press conference, the two joked with each other as if the incident never happened.
“She’s my best friend, she’s a family,” Murphy said of Bower.
When it came to acting quickly, Bower said it was natural to help.
“I just did it,” she said. “I think we are trained to be calm in situations, but in general I just acted.”
The whole incident happened in just under 60 seconds.
Patty Goldner, the interim director of the Trumbull County’s dispatching division, said she didn’t become aware of the incident until Friday morning.
“I got my email and when I got there I started researching it. I wanted to see the video of how the events happened, ”said Goldner. “First of all, I called Shana to see if she was okay.”
Goldner said she then called Bower to tell her how grateful she was.
“It was just incredibly heroic for them to just step in and do what had to be done without missing a beat,” said Goldner.
Regarding Bower’s response to the incident, Goldner writes the dispatcher’s job description – staying calm in emergency situations – as an indicator of why Bower was able to stay calm.
“I think that helped her to know immediately what had to happen,” said Goldner.
Going forward, Goldner said dispatchers will be given instructions and courses on CPR so that not only can they help each other in the event an incident like Thursday reoccurs, but also callers who have an emergency that requires CPR. be able to instruct properly.
At the moment, however, Murphy was joking, saying she was on a liquid diet.