Clinton County Communications dispatcher saves woman’s life

Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 1:14 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 2, 2020 at 2:04 PM CDT
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CLINTON CO., Iowa (KWQC) - A Clinton County Communications dispatcher saved a life over the weekend when a woman collapsed at a campground in Illinois, according to Clinton County Communications.

Becky Goodhart told TV6 she did not want the recognition, saying she was only doing what she hoped anyone in that situation would do, but her colleagues said they are extremely proud of her.

According to Clinton County Communications, Goodhart was at a campground when she heard someone needing help. She assessed the situation like she is trained, called for more help, and began CPR.

“Immediately her training kicked in. She checked to see what was going on and found out they were pulse-less, not breathing,” said Eric Dau, Director of Clinton County Communications.

By the time the ambulance arrived, Dau said the patient had a pulse and was breathing.

All Clinton County Communications dispatchers are Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) certified and Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certified, meaning they are able to provide CPR instructions to callers over the phone who may need assistance until help arrives.

According to Dau, Goodhart had provided CPR instructions over the phone to callers, but this is the first time he is aware of where she had to use it in a hands-on situation.

Dau said the CPR training for dispatchers with the department is provided by the Camanche Fire Department.

In June, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill classifying dispatchers as first responders. Prior to the change, telecommunicators in the state were classified as clerical staff and could not assist by providing life-saving instructions over the phone.

“These skills that we learn as part of our job,” said Dau, “they’re useful both on and off the job as that proves. We truly are first responders and that’s evidenced by this case.”

Goodhart received praise in a Facebook post for saving lives both on and off duty.

Dau said he spoke with Goodhart after the incident and she returned the praise to the dispatcher she spoke with in Illinois on Saturday. “She said that the 9-1-1 operator she talked to when she called 9-1-1 was great. Walked her through. She’s like, “hopefully I’ve provided that to people as well because they were so calm and helpful,” explained Dau.

Goodhart’s planned last day with Clinton County Communications on Tuesday. Dau joked they tried to convince her to stay, but they are thrilled for her as she looks ahead to future endeavors and proud of the work she did, especially over the weekend.

Due to privacy for the patient, TV6 does not have an update on her current condition.

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