Quick action by deputies saves county employee’s life

EVERETT — Thanks to timing, training and technology, a Snohomish County employee has a new lease on life.

The woman, 63, an employee with the Department of Information Services, collapsed at her desk Dec. 5.

A team of Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies, including some who just happened to be at the county campus that day, came to her rescue.

At one point, it appeared the Everett woman was not breathing and had no pulse, according to police reports.

The deputies first tried CPR and then successfully used an Automated External Defibrillator device to give an electroshock to her heart and restore her breathing.

“I think that defibrillator saved her life; I have no doubt it did,” deputy Josh Hostetter said.

Hostetter, who’s assigned to a public transit beat and seldom reports to the county’s Everett campus, was parked in the loading bay outside the information services department where he was waiting to have a laptop computer swapped out of his patrol car.

An employee of the department yelled to him that a woman wasn’t breathing. The deputy quickly requested an aid unit.

The employee led him inside and another worker pointed Hostetter to where the woman had collapsed.

Hostetter found her on her back and monitored her shallow breaths before starting CPR.

Deputy Ryan Phillips arrived a short time later.

The deputies noticed that her chest had tightened, her eyes were fixed and her breathing grew weaker.

Later, “it appeared that she had stopped breathing and I checked her pulse, finding none,” Hostetter wrote in his report.

A sheriff’s office marshal assigned to courthouse security retrieved the automated defibrillator and brought it to Hostetter.

He and Phillips placed the pads on her upper body. A reading from the device confirmed a shock was necessary.

Moments after the woman received the shock, Phillips found a pulse.

Less than a minute later, Everett Fire Department medics arrived. The woman was transported by ambulance to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.

Hostetter has used CPR in the past but had not used a defibrillator before. He said the training paid off and it was fortunate that the technology was nearby.

“Everything just kind of fell together,” he said.

The woman spoke with The Herald but asked that her name not be used in this story.

For Hostetter, the emergency medical care comes with the job.

“I had to go straight back to work,” he said. “I was glad to hear later that she was doing well.”

Eric Stevick, estevick@heraldnet.com, 425-339-3446

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