Redondo Beach fire fighters and paramedics bring a 46-year-old man back to life

Chelsea Sektnan
November 7, 2012

A 46-year-old man was struck by a minivan last Thursday while crossing Pacific Coast Highway south of Pearl Street in South Redondo around 8 p.m. Police initially were told that the man had died, which was subsequently reported by several news outlets. But while being transported to a local hospital, the man was resuscitated and admitted to the hospital in critical condition.

Fire Department Division Chief Steve Hyink said that the man was leaving one of the local stores when he was hit by the car while crossing the street. When emergency responders got to the scene he had a pulse, but was breathing much slower than he should have been, only six to ten times a minute Hyink said.

“When the guys initially found him he was unresponsive,” said Hyink. “He had an obvious broken leg and road rash among other injuries.” Responders told Hyink that the abrasions were so severe his ear was almost torn off of his head.

According to a police report, a witness said that the man appeared to be under the influence and was staggering in the roadway. He was walking outside a crosswalk and was in the left lane for northbound traffic when he was hit by the vehicle. The driver was not injured and police reported that it did not appear that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“They packaged him up on the backboard and stabilized him. When they got him into the ambulance his heart stopped and he quit breathing. The rescuers started CPR and ‘worked him up’ until he had a pulse and was breathing again,” Hyink said.

According to Hyink it is very unusual to resuscitate a person after the heart stops and they quit breathing, “but this is one of those.”

He was taken to Little Company of Mary instead of Harbor General because it was the closest facility, and the rescuers were unsure of the extent of his injuries. After he was admitted, he was assessed and it was determined that he had a broken neck and pelvis.

“The guys did a great job,” said Hyink. “I tell you trauma runs are the hardest runs we go on. Medical runs usually have a lot of clues to follow, but with trauma you only have what’s presented in front of you. It’s especially hard when they’re unresponsive, you have to do everything by feeling and touching… You don’t know the forces exerted on the body, only the things you see.”

Paramedics Steve Fernandez and Grant Currie as well as Fire Captain Scott Harper, engineer Jim Caldwell and fire fighters Eric Paulson and Jeremy Sisante responded to the call.

“The fact that they stabilized and got him in and [then] his heart stopped and they responded to that immediately, that’s quite a feat, they did a great job,” Hyink said.

The collision is still under investigation and anyone with information or who may have witnessed the incident is asked to call RBPD Investigator Mike Dyberg at 310-379-2477 extension 2721 or email ER

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About jw60sea

Jim Caldwell has over 26 years of experience in the public safety sector in occupations ranging from professional ski patrol, and ocean lifeguard to firefighter. Jim has worked for the Redondo Beach Fire Department for the last 22 years holding successively higher positions of responsibility. For the last six years, Jim has held the rank of Engineer with responsibility for driving and operating the Department’s Engines and Tillered Aerial Ladder Truck. Throughout his career, he has shown a dedication not only to public safety but also community service.
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