OLD TOWN, Maine — Former Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap and his neighbors attempted to revive a woman who had collapsed Monday morning on Middle Street and wasn’t showing any signs of life.
Dunlap was chatting in his backyard with his neighbor Reggie Bennett around 10:45 a.m. when Bennett noticed someone prone on the sidewalk across the street, Dunlap said late Monday morning.
Bennett and Dunlap ran across the street and found an unidentified woman, who Dunlap guessed couldn’t have been older than 30, unconscious on the sidewalk, Dunlap said, adding that he thought she must have been jogging or walking before she collapsed. The woman wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse.
“She was gone, man, she was gone,” Dunlap said.
“I thought she had a seizure,” said the Democrat, who ran an unsuccessful primary bid for the U.S. Senate seat set to be vacated by Sen. Olympia Snowe and served as Maine’s secretary of state from 2005 to 2010.
Dunlap said he began chest compressions with assistance from Bennett and his wife, Roxanne, who also spoke to an emergency dispatcher on the phone.
In under a minute, a rescue crew from the Old Town Fire Department, which is located less than a quarter-mile down the road from Dunlap’s home, was on the scene and took over attempts to revive the woman, Dunlap said.
Responders were able to restore the woman’s pulse by the time they placed her in the ambulance, Old Town Fire Chief Steve O’Malley said Monday afternoon.
Dunlap commended emergency crews for their rapid response.
“I don’t think it was 30 seconds and the Fire Department was right there,” Dunlap said. “Without them, she would have died. We’re amateurs. The most important thing we did was make the call.”
O’Malley reciprocated the compliment.
“We don’t have the opportunity to succeed unless bystanders intercede,” the fire chief said.
O’Malley said early Monday evening that he wasn’t sure of the woman’s condition but that she was at the hospital and was still alive.
“Everyone should know CPR and this is a good example of why,” he said.
Dunlap said Middle Street is “pretty quiet” and not highly traveled during the day and that the women could have gone unnoticed for a longer time if Bennett hadn’t spotted her.
For more information about CPR, visit http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/CPRAndECC/CPR_UCM_001118_SubHomePage.jsp.