Have you ever been told, “Cheer up; things could get worse?” So, you cheer up, but they still get worse? That may have been what TSA officers at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport thought when they were alerted to an emergency in the men’s bathroom in Concourse C.
When Supervisory TSA Officers Will Boshart and Tim Solliday and Lead Officer Kevin Kohlhagen entered the bathroom, they found two passengers pulling a man out of a stall.
“He was unresponsive. We thought he was dead,” said Solliday.
One of the passengers, an off-duty EMT, rolled the comatose man onto his back, amid the scattered drug paraphernalia. He wasn’t breathing, and this was a life-and-death situation. The paramedic immediately started chest compressions.
Boshart ran out into the main concourse and found the nearest Automated External Defibrillator (AED), while Solliday knelt down and asked Kohlhagen to get ready to attach the AED paddles to the victim as the EMT administered the chest compressions. The AED analyzed the victim and reported no charge was required and to continue the chest compressions.
“You never expect this kind of thing to happen [working] at the checkpoint, but you do the best you can with the training you’ve had,” said Boshart.
Eventually, Kohlhagen took over CPR duties, relieving the tired EMT, while Boshart moved to support the victim’s head and open up his airway. Meanwhile, a Milwaukee County Sheriff’s deputy gave the victim Naloxone, a medication designed to quickly reverse an opioid overdose. That’s when the man suddenly began gasping and wheezing but was still otherwise unresponsive. Deputies took over chest compressions and the lifesaving effort.
Once paramedics arrived on scene, they took over while Kohlhagen and Solliday stationed themselves outside the bathroom, restricting public entry.
Editor’s Note: FSD Mark Lendvay presented each Officer with an FSD Challenge coin and the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office submitted the TSA Officers’ names to the sheriff for a Commendation of Heroism.