Panama City, Fla. - Panama City Police officials have issued a statement about the bystander who performed a tracheotomy on a choking man at Pepper's Monday afternoon.
According to a Panama City Police report, William Fitzgerald, 58, of Lynn Haven, was choking when Cary Pierce, 24, of Panama City and another man both tried the Heimlich Maneuver. They then attempted CPR. Then, Pierce, a licensed practical nurse who is studying to be a registered nurse, used a pocket knife and a straw to perform a tracheotomy.
Pierce told police on scene that after he performed the procedure color returned to Fitzgerald's face and he began breathing again.
At least some of this account is disputed by the Panama City Police statement.
"As officers arrived, members of the Panama City Fire Department were providing medical care for him. They advised officers that a Licensed Practical Nurse had attempted a crude tracheotomy on the victim prior to the arrival of PCFD," the statement reads. "PCFD personnel were able to stabilize the victim’s airway and he was transported to the hospital where he is recovering."
Officials added that police investigated the incident.
"Investigators were called because, although the citizen was a LPN, his actions appeared outside the scope of his training and experience. The injured man declined to pursue charges against; therefore, no further investigation was conducted to determine if the actions taken could be considered criminal," the statement reads. "Panama City Police Department would like to remind first responders and citizens dealing with a medical emergency to activate the 911 system immediately. Florida has a Good Samaritan Act, but those taking action should be within the scope of their training and experience."
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