High Praise for Catonsville High Bystander Response in Girl's Emergency

But parents questioned protocol after an ambulance dispatched to the scene arrived at another area.

A day after a on the field at , parents and school officials are praising the quick thinking of bystanders and coaches who came to the girl's rescue.

Breanna Sudano collapsed and was not breathing after her junior varsity team field hockey team played Catonsville around 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Lindsey Springer, the varsity coach for Catonsville's field hockey team, said that multiple parents and coaches rushed to the field to help perform CPR on Sudano.

High School Principal Deborah Bittner and Athletic Director David Lane said Catonsville JV coach Christine Erlichman, one of the Perry Hall coaches and two parents with CPR training, administered CPR to Sudando. The parents were identified as Shelly Hunt and Melissa Law.

Coaches who work for Baltimore County are required to be trained in CPR, according to schools spokesperson Charles Herndon.

But parents also questioned the route of emergency personnel called to the scene.

Parents at the game told Patch that when the ambulance arrived, it went to the parking lot above the stadium at Hilltop Road, instead of the entrance on Valley Road, which is typically the entrance ambulances use to access the field. It was another several minutes before the ambulance made it down to the lower field, parents said.

"It was frustrating to see them to go the wrong lot," said Beth Reymann, a parent who was at the game and watched the ambulance go to the parking lot.

"When you're watching them do CPR, it seemed like forever," Reymann said.

Elise Armacost, a spokeswoman for county police and emergency response services, said that the call was dispatched at 5:08 p.m. A fire engine and an EMS supervisor arrived on the scene one second before 5:12 p.m., Armacost said.

Once the first crew arrived, emergency personnel immediately started attending to the patient, she said.

"What we're concerned about with any medical call is to get any unit there as quickly as possible."

Armacost said did not know why the ambulance went to that particular parking lot first.

Reymann, who is also president of the Comet Booster Club, said she has talked with school officials about the idea of adding more signs at all of the school's parking lots to direct visitors and help prevent another such occurrence.

Lane said he has also provided maps and directions to all area emergency response units.

All schools are also provided with automated external defibrillators (AEDs) but the AED was not available on the field on Tuesday, Bittner said. There is no school system policy for defibrillators to be on a field during an athletic event, Herndon said.

The school is going to look at having an AED kept at the stadium for games, Bittner said. The school has four AEDs.

Bill Seiler, a media relations representative for the University of Maryland Medical Center, said Sudano's "condition was good" on Wednesday afternoon.

jon posner September 29, 2011 at 11:16 AM
anyone know the cost of one of those AED units? If it's feasible, it would make sense to have them in multiple locations for large schools or at athletic complexes....
CAW21227 September 29, 2011 at 11:20 AM
So happy the Breanna is now doing well!!! One reason they may have gone to the upper parking lost first is that the Valley Road entrance would be particularly hard to get to at that time of day due to the tremendous amount of traffic going to CCBC. Even if the ambulance came from the Catonsville station, all of the roads leading to that area are unbelievably congested, I am amazed that they got there as quickly as they did!
Tess September 29, 2011 at 11:31 AM
Having worked with Shelly Hunt I can attest to the fact that Breanna had a guardian angel in the stands that day- she is a great nurse. I cannot understand why a school that has four AEDS would not have one at every sporting event. The young lady is not the first seemingly healthy athlete to collapse on a field and the stands are filled with mid-age parents in their prime heart attack years...of course that AED should be at the field.
Karen September 29, 2011 at 12:48 PM
Having watched many games on the CHS turf I have been in the stands for 6-8 ambulance calls to the high school stadium, and in EVERY case, the ambulance goes to the wrong lot. Parents normally run up the hill to the Hilltop lot to give drivers directions to the correct entry off of Valley Road. In every instance there is frustration. Is this a systems issue with Baltimore County??
Penny Riordan September 29, 2011 at 01:18 PM
Jon, I don't know the cost, but the county pays for them, not the schools. It says in the article that they will start keeping one out at games so I think that will likely change soon as you suggested.
Karen September 29, 2011 at 02:05 PM
But the issue is the emergency responders can't get their vehicles or medical equipment to the field where there are injured athletes from the Hilltop Lot. All the responders do when they arrive at the upper lot is to walk down to the field and ask which way they can drive to get down to the oval. Then they walk back up the hill, get in their vehicles, and drive around the block. From the lot off Valley Road their vehicles can drive down an access road to get to the field. Driving in to the Hilltop lot just wates precious time.
Ed Tracy September 29, 2011 at 02:15 PM
I disagree with the comment that said the response time was admirable. It was completely unacceptable. And the times given in the article by the spokesperson are WRONG. I personally made a 911 call when I saw CPR was being administered at 5:06pm (verizon cellular time). The ambulance appeared at the wrong parking lot at 5:14pm. It took two more gut wrenching minutes (5:16) for the ambulance to go to the correct entrance and make it to the field. From the time I made my call, 8 (+2) minutes is unacceptable for an ambulance to go less than ONE MILE. Part of the delay is the county's stupendous 911 call protocol. Not issuing an ambulance until all this silly minutia is obtained from the caller. I literally had to hang up on the operator (after demanding an ambulance again) after dealing with questions like, how old is the girl, what does she look like, what is her condition...after I started the call by clearly stating JV h/s girl collapsed on main stadium field being given CPR. An endless barrage of minutia question while a little girl is dying. The operator called me back and I told her I had no more information than the girl needs an ambulance now. I am willing to provide these times and call records to help improve awareness/response times, edtracy@gmail.com.
Penny Riordan September 29, 2011 at 02:30 PM
Ed, thanks for sharing. I did talk to several people yesterday who had similar accounts.
msb_seahawk September 29, 2011 at 03:25 PM
"High School Principal Deborah Bittner and Athletic Director David Lane said Catonsville JV coach Christine Erlichman, one of the Perry Hall coaches and two parents with CPR training, administered CPR to Sudando. The parents were identified as Shelly Hunt and Melissa Law." Please correct above to mention an additional bystander who noticed something was wrong, came over to help, and assisted with the CPR by giving chest compressions for 8 minutes plus (thanks, Ed Tracy, about correcting the response time), so that she receives some credit and thanks: to the woman who wishes to remain anonymous. See comments from "Rob" and "Mrs. White" on article: UPDATE: Hospitalized Field Hockey Player in Good Condition.
Charles Sheen September 29, 2011 at 03:54 PM
Heard a rumor that CHS AD said he could not get the defribillator because it was locked up in the school, any truth to that?
Audrey White September 29, 2011 at 04:06 PM
And yes...Mr. Tracy's account of the time is far more accurate then the reported times!
Mateo Enrique September 29, 2011 at 07:26 PM
The Manufacturer Suggest Retail Price of AEDs run anywhere from about $1,500-3000 which, in reality, isn't very expensive when you consider it's use of saving lives. However, we provide a corporate buy-down grant program which can reduce the cost by $200-900. While counties and cities do pay for some of the machines, we have had many schools needing to apply and purchase from themselves. Our grant is open to almost all public facilities and even individuals - Please tell whomever you find appropriate to visit us at www.AEDGrant.com and apply for funding!
Audrey White September 29, 2011 at 07:30 PM
We all need to work together to put new policies and actions into place. Questioning actions and polices is constructive..personal attacks are not. Lord knows I have asked myself 100 times why I did not run myself for the AED...really any of us just watching from the stands could have done it. Mr. Lane and the others had more to handle then us observers.
mike September 29, 2011 at 09:37 PM
First thank you to ALL the individuals that responded to save that young lady's life! catonsville is a special community and we are fortunate to have folks like you. If the the lady that assisted wants to remain anonymous then stop bringing it up and respect her wishes. Just know the Community is very appreciative of your efforts Criticism of the policies and procedures is great and I am sure changes will be made- attacking individuals when you do not know all the variables in play is not acceptable For the EMTs to respond when they did is outstanding- expectations for them to arrive in a minute is unrealistic- suppose there had been an accident on valley road and the response time was 20 minutes? That is why coaches and trainers are CPR trained- Thank God for Coach Erlichman, Perry Hall Coach, Anonymous Lady, Ms Law, Ms Hunt & EMTs!!! you all saved a life- period The only issues to examine are: why was an AED not on the field and why did that gentleman have to deal with the absurd 911 call I am sure changes will be made in those two areas- otherwise we should realize in this situation people helped themselves and each other and did not wait to be helped!!
Trishia Finley September 29, 2011 at 10:15 PM
Wondering if the anonymous lady was not noticed...what else was not noticed? And really..."The only issues to examine are: why was an AED not on the field and why did that gentleman have to deal with the absurd 911 call " Seems to me there are a lot of things that need to be examined.
mary September 29, 2011 at 10:19 PM
the AED's are in a box that is always unlocked and set off an alarm to alert anyone in the area "there is a problem...call for help" the alarm is a proactive feature...
Bruce Goldfarb (Editor) September 30, 2011 at 03:47 AM
The questions being asked by the dispatcher are necessary information to gather and do not slow down the dispatch of an ambulance. The unit is dispatched immediately; along the way the crews are provided updated information. It also may make a difference where the ambulance transports. I assure you, the wheels were in motion while the dispatcher was asking those questions. I realize that seconds can seem like an eternity under those circumstances. It really isn't possible to dispatch with pinpoint precision. I know from experience that many times you don't know the exact location of an incident until you get near and people start waving their arms. If a call comes in for something on the CHS athletic field, that covers an area from Rolling to Hilltop, from the school to Valley. Lastly, it isn't clear whether an AED would have made a difference in this case. But yes, they should be on hand anytime a crowd gathers, just like a first aid kit.
Audrey White September 30, 2011 at 05:23 PM
I have permission from the anonymous women to give her name: Beth Beautz the mother CHS baseball player that was there to watch a family friend play. She has been a nurse since 1989 specializing in cardiac units.
Anonymous September 30, 2011 at 07:51 PM
Bless those that were there for my neighbor and for a wonderful little girl. But I must say that yes changes need to be made (of course). But all parents, coaches, friends, teammates, and medics need to be thanked. A little girls life was saved. There should be no attacks at the moment. This little girls life was saved. Try leaving comments for her maybe.
James Clements October 02, 2011 at 12:13 AM
I don't know the accurate times for the 9-1-1 call, when it was dispatched but Bruce is correct-as soon as the nature & an address of a call is indicated, the operator sends it electroniclly to the Fire & Police dispatchers. More information is gathered for the use of responders; something sometimes critical for everyone's safety. I'm glad the young lady is O.K. but I'm also glad for those who helped with CPR. Again, the question remains, why was not one of the school's AED in the hands of their coach prior to the start of the game? I'm a FF/paramedic living in Perry Hall and have always wondered why not.
Comet crazy October 02, 2011 at 01:48 PM
I'd like to know how many of those on here who are comfortable critiquing the process have their CPR certification. Perhaps the initial finger-pointing should be towards one's self. Can we please focus on the outcome here? A girl's life was saved by the many good people of this town, period.
Comet crazy October 02, 2011 at 04:21 PM
If you are CPR qualified, then my comments were not directed toward you, Mrs. White. My point is to demonstrate how easy it seems to become to point fingers at "policy" or "process" when there are equally caring individuals (like emt drivers, paramedics, athletic directors, etc) behind said "policy" who may be affected by such comments. What if the field hockey team took the AED equipment to the field, and it happened to be a football player on the adjacent field who needed it that day, and no one knew where it was... I'd say that the outcome demonstrates that we were prepared......to do what was necessary INDEPENDENT of the process.....that is as it should be. And my name is not false - I am Comet crazy :)
mary October 05, 2011 at 05:32 PM
We all need to be thankful that Breanna is ok and stop the finger pointing. We need to be thankful for the quick response on the field. We also need to consider the players that were on the field at the time and what they witnessed. I was not there but every adult I spoke with said that it was surreal. We are adults, they are teenagers and I know that my daughter has never experienced what she experienced that day on the field and I also know that she nor any of the other girls will ever forget. They witnessed a miracle, Breanna's life was saved that day because of the quickness on the field.
Perry Hall Mom October 07, 2011 at 03:25 PM
In some other states, it's required that an ambulance be on site for all school sports activities. Something to think about! Having one AED in a school wouldn't be enough as there multiple games going on inside/outside the school at the same time. Each Balto County school should have one assigned to a trained adult/coach at each game. It might mean buying four but if it saves just one life - it's money well spent!!


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