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Home  >  Police Products  >  AEDs

June 16, 2004
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Indiana man reunited with officer who saved him with a defibrillator

Last month, a heart attack followed by a car crash nearly killed a Fort Wayne man. Tuesday night, Fred Pinkerton met the police officer who saved his life.

The accident happened on May 27th. Pinkerton was driving through a McDonald''s parking lot, near Getz Road, headed toward Jefferson, when he had a heart attack. His truck rolled into traffic on Jefferson, and crashed into an oncoming truck.

"I don''t remember any of it," said Pinkerton Tuesday night.

Officer R.J. Sutphin, who arrived minutes after the accident, restarted Pinkerton''s heart with the help of a portable defibrillator, long before medics could arrive. By restarting his heart so quickly, sutphin was able to prevent any brain damage.

Tonight, the two met for the first time. Officer Sutphin filled in some of the gaps in Pinkerton''s memory.

Pinkerton spent 12 days in the hospital, many of those in critical condition. Despite hearing and reading about the accident, Pinkerton never realized how bad it was until hearing about it from Officer Sutphin.

"It was quite an experience, I tell you, I had no idea it was that serious," said Pinkerton.

He marveled at the small machine that helped save his life.

"You just open it up, and it shows you what to do," Officer Sutphin explained. He says he doesn''t consider himself a hero. "It''s nice to be able to be a part of it," Sutphin said.

Pinkerton''s wife considers the officer a gift from God. "We''ll be eternally grateful, he''s a good Christian, and we''ll be eternally grateful," she said.

Oddly, this is not the first time Fred Pinkerton has cheated death. Over the past 40 years, he''s survived five serious crashes involved drunk drivers.

The Fort Wayne Police department received its portable defibrillators two years ago from a grant from Parkview Hospital. Mr. Pinkerton''s accident was the first time one of the machine was used to successfully start a patient''s heart.

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