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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Rescuers honored for reviving Westmoreland County deputy

Vicky Beasley

Lt. Bill England, a 25-year veteran of the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office, was fortunate in the way he died.

England’s heart stopped in front of people who had the knowledge and equipment to do something about it.

Within one minute they had pulled him from his couch, analyzed what was happening and revived him with a defibrillator.

“They brought me back to life,” England said.

England’s rescuers included paramedic Vicky Beasley and fellow deputies, Eric Molinares and Darrel Johnson. The trio was recognized last week for the lifesaving care they provided.

AirCare MedEvac, one of  the medical helicopter companies in Fredericksburg, honored the three at its annual Critical Care and Trauma Symposium.

England, 60, said he was alone in his home in the Stratford Harbour section of the county. He was watching television in his living room.  It was a Tuesday in January, about 8:30 p.m.

At first he thought the feeling in his chest was indigestion, he said, but the pain became worse. He started sweating, and it felt like someone was sticking pins in his left arm. He called the sheriff’s office, where a dispatcher summoned an ambulance. The dispatcher also called Molinares, who lives next-door to England, and asked Beasley, a full-time paramedic with the county and volunteer with the Montross Volunteer Rescue Squad, to contact her.

Deputies Darrel Johnson, left, and Eric Molinares with Sheriff C.O. Balderson, back.

Beasley said she drove from her home to England’s house. Molinares was already there and had retrieved the portable defibrillator from his police cruiser.

Beasley said she could tell right away that England was in trouble. She asked that a helicopter be sent to transport him quickly to the hospital.

“He had a gray, ashen look,” she said. “He was sweating profusely. He was giving me an 8-out-of-10 chest pain. It was classic.”

Beasley said she and the others were checking England’s vital signs and talking with him about his medical history when he went into cardiac arrest.

“He just reared back and gasped for breath,” she said.

Beasley said it reminded her of a person having a seizure. It was the first time she’d seen it.

“Most of the time we don’t get to see what the body does when the heart stops,” she said.

England said he remembers talking with Beasley but nothing after that.

“There was no pain. I just went to sleep,” he said.

The group pulled England from the couch to the floor. Beasley said she could not find a carotid pulse, so the trio hooked him to the defibrillator and gave him one shock to restore normal heart rhythm.

The group continued to help England with his breathing and to do CPR. Soon he was moaning and breathing on his own, Beasley said. In the ambulance he responded to her questions.

A medical helicopter landed nearby at a farm owned by England’s mother. The air crew took him to Mary Washington, where Dr. Ashok Prasad and Dr. Alex Na treated him. One week later Na performed quadruple bypass surgery.

England said he’s fine now and has returned to work. Because of the incident, the Sheriff’s Office used grant money to purchase defibrillators for all the police vehicles that did not have them.