Montgomery County 911 dispatcher talks woman through CPR to save a man's life

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) One phone call can change someone's life forever and that's what happens every day at the 911 call center in Montgomery County.

It's been one year since the NRV 911 Authority went live with Emergency Medical Dispatching.

"It allows us to give pre-arrival instructions that can sometimes be lifesaving for people," training coordinator, Valerie D'Intino said.

One of those calls could come at any moment.

Whitney Bedwell has been a dispatcher for almost 20 years, working in Montgomery County for nearly 10. She's taken a lot of different calls.

"Anywhere from people locking their keys in their cars all the way to a tragedy that takes place."

On December 26th, Bedwell said it was a normal day when a call came through that could've ended in life or death.

"She was saying that he was having chest pains but then it went downhill very quickly" Bedwell explained.

While on the phone, the man became unresponsive and stopped breathing so Bedwell had to walk the woman through how to give CPR to her husband until help arrived.

"In the back of my mind was, 'I want him to live. I don't want her to lose her husband,'" Bedwell said.

With the team effort between Bedwell, the wife, and the first responders, the man was able to walk out of the hospital a few days later. A happy ending that dispatchers say is often rare in their line of work.

"Sometimes we don't find out and sometimes we find out right away that things didn't turn out good," Bedwell said. Which is why calls like this make all the difference.

"It helps to get rid of the memories of all those bad calls to have a good call," Bedwell said.

Over 6,000 medical emergency 911 calls came into the New River Valley 911 Authority between January and November last year. The dispatchers say they look forward to sharing more stories with positive outcomes in the future.