Clovis EMS familiar with those on brink of death

Reporter’s Notebook

The Dec. 31 call to Muffley Funeral Home was unusual in that a man declared dead apparently came back to life, but Battalion Chief Jerry Swenson of the Clovis Fire Department said his emergency medical services staff respond to possible deaths many times every week.
Swenson said he couldn’t go into specifics because of patient confidentiality issues, but when called to a scene where a person is unresponsive and may be dead, his staff follows a standard procedure.
“We refer to it as the ABC’s of life support,” Swenson said. “Our initial process is to check for a pulse, literally check and touch them and say, ‘Can you hear me?’ and we check for respiration. If we don’t have a pulse and we don’t have respiration, one or both, we initiate CPR, and of course we’ve got all our equipment.”
When a patient isn’t breathing or doesn’t have a heartbeat, Swenson said the most urgent priority is to get those functions working again.
“We have our defibrillator cardiac monitor,” Swenson said. “We have airway management if they are not breathing, we assist with their ventilation with oxygen and we have a vast number of tools to jump-start or stimulate activity in the heart.”

Reporter’s notebook was compiled by CNJ staff writer Darrell Todd Maurina. Suggested items may be mailed to editor David Stevens at P.O. Box 1689, Clovis 88102. The e-mail address is: