On September 13th, 2021, fall was approaching the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington. As summer ended, the weather rapidly cooled and settled into typical rainy days in the waterfront community.
Communications Supervisor Dennis Laboy was working at Peninsula Communications (Pencom) that evening when he received a 911 call. The frantic caller reported her husband was not breathing. Dennis immediately began gathering information to send help when the caller accidentally disconnected. After re-establishing contact, Dennis quickly determined the patient was unconscious and not breathing normally. Despite the fear in the caller's voice as she begged him for help, Dennis remained calm while relaying lifesaving CPR instructions.
“I can’t do this,” the caller said, losing confidence that she could save her husband. Dennis became her lifeline, lending her his strength and reassurance as he walked her through how to perform CPR.
Later, Dennis learned that the patient survived. Both the caller and paramedics recognized his professionalism and calm demeanor in aiding her husband’s cardiac arrest survival. However, Dennis remains humble in his role in the chain of survival. “It was an honor for me to be in the position to be able to give her some help, and she did the rest.”
Dennis recently shared this personal cardiac arrest save story on the “Within the Trenches” podcast. Previously working in construction, he entered the 911 industry by chance after seeing an intriguing local advertisement. Throughout his decade-long telecommunicator career, he has continuously honed his skills, most recently with the RQI Telecommunicator CPR (RQI T-CPR) training program. He compares the program’s continual education, simulations and quality assurance to physical exercise. “You need repetition to improve, learn, and build endurance.” It was regular, real-world practice through the RQI T-CPR program that improved his T-CPR expertise, allowing him to effectively coach the caller through CPR delivery that saved her husband’s life.
Dennis credits the RQI T-CPR program with providing him the tools and confidence he needs to deliver high-quality T-CPR that saves lives. “Ultimately, what is it we are trying to do? We are trying to help our community and give them the best level of service that we can.”
Hear directly from those that were involved
Watch the episode from the Within The Trenches podcast where Dennis LaBoy and Karl Hatton from Peninsula Communications (Pencom) discuss this story. The video will start from the point in the episode where Dennis describes his experience, but you are also able to watch the entire episode.