NRV 911 Dispatcher Uses Training To Help Save a Man’s Life

Dispatcher helped woman perform CPR on husband

By Jessica Jewell – Weekend Anchor / Reporter
Posted: 6:29 PM, January 09, 2019
Updated: 6:29 PM, January 09, 2019

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – A 911 dispatcher in the New River Valley is being hailed as a hero after helping save a man’s life.

It’s all thanks to training she received a year ago, allowing dispatchers to provide emergency medical instructions before first responders arrive.

Whitney Bedwell has been helping people in the New River Valley through emergencies for nearly a decade.

“The whole point of it is to assist in saving somebody’s life,” Bedwell said.

The day after Christmas, a man and his wife were leaving the New River Valley Mall when he started having chest pain. He was having a heart attack. His wife got him to the car and immediately called 911. Bedwell answered the call.

“We initiated the CPR and I had her counting out loud as she was doing the compressions,” Bedwell said.

Bedwell used protocol called Emergency Medical Dispatch, or EMD, to walk the woman through exactly what to do to keep her husband alive until first responders arrived.

“You’re giving them the knowledge that they tried everything they could do and luckily, here we had a good outcome,” Bedwell said.

Before training on EMD last January, NRV 911 dispatchers weren’t allowed to give any of that lifesaving medical instruction.

“You almost felt guilty about that,” Bedwell said.

“We’re able to comfort people, to aid people, to send help, but to do this extra step is really important,” NRV 911 training coordinator Valerie D’Intino said.

The training, often called a game changer, teaches dispatchers to walk callers through a variety of medical issues. Without it, this call could have ended very differently.

“It’s an awesome feeling to know that you’re part of him being able to live,” Bedwell said.

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