MIDWAY — Just six weeks ago, Chicago Police Officers Walter Bland and John Munoz were receiving training on how to use an automated external defibrillator. On Thursday, Bland, Munoz and two other officers put those recently acquired skills to good use when they helped save a man's life.
"We received a call that a gentleman had passed out at Harry Caray’s restaurant [at Midway Airport around 9:30 a.m.],” said Bland, who recently transferred to Midway Airport from the Central Police District in October.
When Bland arrived at Harry Caray’s, Officer Mike Ephraim had removed the 73-year-old man, who was not breathing, from his seat and began CPR.
Over the span of two to three minutes, the officers worked together without hesitation to help save the man’s life.
"After a minute, I told Mike to let me take over," said Bland, who has been on the force for 29 years.
While Bland focused on the chest compressions, Officer Sherida Shepherd retrieved the automatic external defibrillator, and shortly after, Munoz applied the AED electrodes to the man's chest.
After turning it on, "that’s when he started to breathe," said Munoz, who has been an officer for 28 years. "We didn't need to shock him."
The Chicago man, who was on his way to visit his grandchildren in South Carolina, was able to physically and verbally communicate after the incident, but he didn't know what had happened, Munoz said.
The man was wheeled out by paramedics and taken to McNeal Hospital in serious condition, police said.
Sgt. Maria Whiteside lauded the officers for their quick thinking and acknowledged the Chicago Heart Save Program at Midway and O'Hare for their CPR and AED training that helped save the man's life.
Although Bland wasn't thinking he'd be using the skills so soon, he's thankful that he insisted on getting the training early on.
"I’m not a hero; this is just part of our job," Bland said. "I just thank God that I was trained properly and able to respond without hesitation."
"I’m glad this gentleman is still on this earth," Bland added.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: