NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla (WFLA) – Rebecca Demedeiros says the most difficult part of her job is not knowing. Demedeiros is a dispatcher at Pasco County’s 911 call center.
She and other communications specialists at the center answer dozens of calls a day. But many times, when callers hang up the phone, there is no resolution. Dispatchers aren’t informed if the information they provided helped.
That was not the case during an emotional reunion at the call center Friday. Demedeiros met 76-year-old Jerry Carlson and his wife Linda for the first time.
On Oct. 8, Carlson suffered a heart attack and stopped breathing. His wife and her daughter called 911 begging for help. Demedeiros answered the call. Here was the conversation:
Demedeiros: “911, what’s your emergency?”
Jenny Carlson: “He’s going … He was talking, laughing and now he’s going … He’s not responding. Please hurry.”
Demedeiros: “He’s unresponsive?”
Carlson: “Well, he’s having like a seizure or … a seizure or something.”
Demedeiros dispatched paramedics and calmly instructed the Carlsons on how to perform CPR. “Listen carefully, and I’ll tell you how to do chest compressions. Make sure he’s flat on his back on the ground. Place the heel of your hand on the breast bone in the center of the chest,” she is heard saying on the 911 call.
Linda Carlson thanked Demedeiros at Friday’s meeting. “She just kept us focused. I think that’s part of what kept us going because we had no idea of what we were doing before that,” she said. “I don’t think if it wasn’t for her he wouldn’t be here today. He would’ve been long gone.”
Demedeiros worked hard to fight back the tears, calling the meeting very emotional. “It makes me want to cry because I don’t know them but I feel in that moment when that call is coming in I feel like I’m a part of that family,” she said. “I feel like I’m there.”