New paramedic involved in two “saves” in one day

An Ocean Shores paramedic who has been certified for less than six months, saved two lives in one day this week on emergency medical calls, department officials said.

On Wednesday, Corey Kuhl, a full-time paramedic firefighter with the Ocean Shores Fire Department, saved one man who had choked on a piece of food in a restaurant and had passed out and turned blue and two hours later Kuhl revived a man who had a heart attack in front of his son.

Two days after the “saves” Kuhl was still excited and humbled by the experience. He said he has been with the department in some way for the past five years, “But I can’t say I’ve had back to back saves like that, it was definitely a career day.”

The first call came in at 5 p.m. from a Mexican restaurant in Ocean Shores about a man who was unresponsive and slumped over a table.

When Kuhl and two EMTs, Bob Krueger and Ken Osborne arrived on the scene, the man was, “unconscious and completely blue, and his eyes were wide open,” Kuhl said.

Fire officials said the man was large, making the Heimlich maneuver next to impossible. Kuhl, along with Krueger and Osborne, put the man on the floor and with a set of forceps began looking in the man’s throat to find and pull out the blockage. Kuhl found a large piece of partially chewed meat in the man’s throat.

Kuhl and his team used a device to administer artificial respiration, but he wasn’t coming around fast enough, so Kuhl had to administer drugs through an intravenous needle. The man came around when the large diameter needle was placed in his leg.

The oddest part of the call was the response of the other customers at the restaurant, Kuhl said. “It was weird because nobody stopped eating their food,” he said.

The second call happened about two hours later, when a man collapsed while taking his child to athletic practice at Ocean Shores High School. The child was able to stop the car, and call 9-1-1.

Two Ocean Shores Police officers, Kyle Watson and Aaron Glanz arrived at the scene, took the man out of the car and started CPR on him in the rain. Kuhl arrived soon after and took over. Kuhl administered three defibrillation shocks, intubated the man and administered cardiac support drugs.

He was taken to Grays Harbor Community Hospital for stabilization and then driven to an Olympia hospital. Kuhl was assisted by Krueger, Marshall Reid of Fire District Seven and Lt. Joe Hoffman of the Ocean Shores Fire Department.

Kuhl said the rescues made him feel excited and fulfilled.

“I was pretty pumped. I couldn’t go to sleep,” he said. “I feel like this is what it’s about, to get out there and help people.”