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A Life-Saving Mission

01 February 2024

From Anna Marie G. Gonzales, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

WAHIAWA, Hawaii - Waking up two and a half weeks later, Sgt. Dustin Woodmansee, an Army service member assigned to the 13th Military Police Detachment at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii experienced his first sudden cardiac arrest. To his surprise, he woke up in a hospital bed unable to remember what had happened or how he ended up where he was.
The last thing he could recall was working out at the gym, going home to his Army residence at Helemano Military Reservation (HMR) on Wahiawa then falling asleep.

In the fall of last year, at about 7:50 in the morning, Navy Region Hawaii’s Federal Fire Department Station 10-Engine 110 (E110), located on HMR received an emergency call and responded to Woodmansee having a seizure at his home.

Arriving on scene, the firefighters discovered him going into cardiac arrest. Immediately, the firefighters deployed their AED or automated external defibrillator and started CPR along with basic life support (BLS) care. As the incident was getting critical, mutual aid was requested.

With the mutual aid agreement, the Honolulu Fire Department BLS Engine company and a Honolulu Emergency Medical Services Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance rushed to the scene providing prompt care.
Woodmansee was then taken in critical condition to the nearest emergency department where he was stabilized and was shortly transported to Tripler Army Medical Center.

Among the FFD firefighters who performed this life-saving event were Curtis Yoshikane, Tyler Agtang, Norman Lugo and Stephen Taheny.

Yoshikane, driver operator and emergency medical technician, established incident command, communicated with the Regional Dispatch Center, coordinated BLS resuscitation efforts, and ventilated the patient.

“As the lieutenant, I was focused on effectively communicating the game plan with my personnel based on the nature of the call to ensure we were all on the same page,” said Yoshikane. “It is important that we clarify what each of our roles and responsibilities are on each emergency response prior to arriving on scene.”

Tyler Agtang, firefighter and emergency medical technician, applied AED, delivered defibrillation, performed manual CPR, and assisted with extrication of Woodmansee for transport.

“The first thing that ran through my mind was making sure we arrived at the address as quickly and safely as possible,” said Agtang.

Norman Lugo, firefighter and emergency medical technician, performed CPR, ventilated the patient, and assisted with extrication of patient for transport. He shared his thoughts on how it made him feel to save a life.

“After seeing Woodmansee walking and talking so shortly after the event, all I could feel was relief,” said Lugo. “Knowing that everyone on my team contributed to saving a life made me feel proud and validated that the continuous training we go through on a daily basis paid off.”

Stephen Taheny, firefighter and emergency medical technician, inserted BLS airway adjunct, ventilated the patient, and assisted with extrication of patient for transport.

“What I learned from this life-saving effort is that every member of the team plays a vital role in every emergency response that we have,” said Taheny. “Communication is very important.”

As a first responder himself, Woodmansee understands being in an emergency and shows his gratitude to thank the firefighters and emergency medical technicians for a job well done in saving his life.

“So I’m really grateful for them as a survivor, the witnesses, firefighters and first responders, you guys executed extremely well.” And as a first responder, I’ve worked with a lot of you and I’m grateful for the outcome. I’m just grateful to be here and to the people that helped me survive.”

The CNRH FFD firefighters’ motto is “Protecting those who defend America” which proves them to be the Department of Defense’s role model for fire and emergency services. Teamwork is what really made the difference among these first responders, not just within the federal department but partnering with Hawaii’s emergency medical technicians to save a life.

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