Saturday, July 10, 2010

A grim scene at the Madison Park dock

A little before 8:00 this evening, about an hour after the lifeguards left the Madison Park beach for the day, a young man was pulled unconscious from the water and onto the diving platform. A police boat was quickly on the scene, and CPR was begun.
Multiple fire emergency units raced to the dock at the Madison Street road end, where the police boat had by then transported the man, who appeared to be in his 20s.

The medics continued to apply CPR for more than 15 minutes, but the man had not regained consciousness by the time he was placed in the medic unit, which transported him to Harborview Hospital.

Update: At 10:00 pm the nursing supervisor at Harborview reported the man to be in "critical condition."


  1. Hm. So, my heart goes out to the fellow. And I appreciate the work of our emergency professionals.

    But I cringe whenever I see the disproportionate response to accidents. Here we have one unconscious guy, two ambulances, on medical boat, one fire engine, multiple cop cars, and more personnel than I can count.

    It'd have taken about 5 guys and one ambulance max for this type of incident. I am not impressed with the handling of my tax dollars here.

  2. Disproportionate and more importantly, reckless. We were on Madison when 3 police cars went by at more than 80 mph going downhill into town. With all of the foot and vehicle traffic, they were lucky they did not kill anyone getting to the scene.

  3. Oh, brother. Some people will complain about anything, won't they?

    I must qualify by saying that I am not in any way affiliated with emergency services, except as a potential customer, just like all of you.

    Question to Mr. "Five guys and an ambulance:" How does the ambulance drive out to the floating diving platform at the beach? The boat came to transport the victim from someplace the ambulance could not access (the water), to some place it could (the land).

    Thankfully you were not working dispatch last night. Can you imagine the headline? "Victim Dies on Floating Flatform when City Sends Car to Do a Boat's Job." Isn't it great that EMS can think of all of these potential pitfalls so quickly? You had the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, six hours to work with, and still would have sent the wrong equipment.

    As for the two ambulances: What if there were other victims? What if one of the rescuers (civilian or otherwise) became injured and needed transport? What if someone involved has a heart attack, or goes into shock from the stress of seeing a loved-one dead, or near-dead? In HINDSIGHT, maybe this was duplication, but they don't have the luxury of guessing wrong like you do. The impact to your property taxes? Probably less than a penny.

    The police come because there is often a need to control traffic, to investigate a crime scene, to transport relatives who were relying on the dead person for a ride, etc. Do you really think the Police only go around arresting bad guys?

    As for the speed of the response. When you hear sirens, get out of the way and rather than thinking about your tax dollars, think about whether or not you could do what those people are about to do and be impressed by them. Chances are, they will be at your side one day and I bet you will not send them away to save a few cents, or complain about how there are too many of them there, or how they drove too fast getting to you.

    Keep up the good work, Bryan.

  4. "Oh brother"-- well said. Thanks for voicing what a lot of us are thinking.

  5. I heard the man had passed away today but I'm not sure. I was on the beach when the incident occurred but did not see what happened. My prayers go out the young man and his family and friends. What a tragedy. I think the EMS, police and fire dept. did an excellent job. btw this is a nice blog.
    john jorde

  6. I was at the beach when this happened, participated in the resuscitation, and I'm a physician so I must comment.

    Seattle has a far higher survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest than any other city in the US. In part it's due to high public awareness of CPR (and this guy received very good CPR immediately from the swimmers on the diving dock). But it's mostly due to the rapid response time, with firemen on the scene typically within 4 minutes.

    I swam to the dock to assist when I saw the swimmers starting CPR. He was unconscious, not breathing, and pulseless. Within 5 minutes, a fully clothed fireman had swam to the diving dock with oxygen, airways, and a mask to ventilate the guy. Within 2 more minutes a police boat pulled up. We put him on a backboard, moved him to the boat, transported him to the shore dock, and handed him over to at least a dozen fire and medic personnel. Trust me that everyone in the area was participating in his care, just like it happens in the ER at Harborview or on TV. He was intubated, defibrillated, had IV access placed, had his spine stabilized, and was on his way to Harborview in an incredibly brief period of time.

    I'll happily pay taxes to the city or county to support this level of care, which happens to be the best in the country. And it's great to live in a city where untrained bystanders will initiate rescue breaths and chest compressions on a complete stranger.


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