Firefighters, medics aid overdose victim on their doorstep

Columbus firefighters and paramedics from Columbus Regional Hospital revived an overdose victim on their own doorstep Sunday, likely saving the man’s life.

Capt. Mike Wilson, spokesman for the fire department, said that the rescue crews at Fire Station 1 on Washington Street received word from dispatchers that a possible heart attack victim was being driven to the station. Moments later a car arrived with an unconscious man in the passenger seat.

Wilson said the man was not breathing on his own, but a faint pulse was detected. Although the woman who drove the man to the fire station said he had a heart condition, medics noticed that the man’s pupils were constricted — a sign of heroin overdose. A second driver pulled into the fire station and told police that he suspected the victim had overdosed on heroin.

The rescue workers administered Narcan, a drug that counteracts the effect of overdoses. The man soon began breathing on his own and regained consciousness.

The victim was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital for further treatment, Wilson said.

Although hospital paramedics have been using Narcan for more than two decades, firefighters with only basic medical training received instruction in the use of the drug just last week, Wilson said.