Chief Woody presents Life-saving Award to Sgt. David Bird

By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Sgt. Bird with Jessica Smith, the patient he performed CPR on and kept alive until the BFD paramedics and Lifeline Ambulance arrived.

During the Monday, Nov. 22 meeting of the Committee of the Whole, Belvidere Police Chief Shane Woody presented Sgt. Bird with a Life-Saving award.

“Jessica Smith, 33, of Belvidere, had a severe asthma attack and her grandfather, Daniel Smith, was driving her to the hospital,” her grandmother Joanne Smith said. “He noticed she stopped breathing, pulled to the side of Appleton Road, and called 9-1-1. Sgt. Bird responded to the call. Without hesitation, Sgt. Bird did CPR and kept her alive until the Belvidere Fire Department and ambulance arrived.

“The neurologist who did her MRI gave her a less than one percent chance of surviving. We chose to keep her on the ventilator and the next day she woke up.”

When called upon at the Committee of the Whole meeting, Daniel Smith spoke of that night and about Bird’s prompt response to Jessica’s situation and thanked him and all the responders that night. Woody then spoke with the official report of the event:

“On Sept. 29, Daniel Smith contacted the Belvidere Police Department reporting that his granddaughter was unresponsive in his vehicle. Sgt. Bird responded to the 1200 block of S. Appleton and located a vehicle parked on the side of the road.

“Sgt. Bird observed a female slumped over in the front passenger seat. The female would not respond when Sgt. Bird tried talking to her and her grandfather, Daniel, said she needed help. Sgt. Bird noted the female was cold and clammy to the touch.

“Sgt. Bird pulled her from the vehicle and laid her on her back and noticed her start to take short, shallow breaths every few seconds. Shortly after that, she stopped breathing completely. Sgt. Bird checked for a pulse and did not find one.

“Sgt. Bird immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) chest compressions and, at one point, she did start to breath on her own but immediately stopped breathing again. Sgt. Bird noted her eyes were open but non-responsive and her pupils were dilated.

“Sgt. Bird continued CPR until Belvidere Fire and Lifeline Ambulance arrived on scene. Sgt. Bird, Belvidere Fire paramedics, and Lifeline Ambulance loaded her into the ambulance. Sgt. Bird learned later that, once in the ambulance, she started breathing once more.

“It wasn’t until later that Sgt. Bird learned she had survived.

“Sgt. Bird, your dedication and commitment to the Belvidere community is recognized and greatly appreciated.

“On behalf of the City of Belvidere and the Belvidere Police Dept. you are hereby presented with a “Life-Saving” award.”

Belvidere Fire Department Chief Al Hyser then took the microphone and acknowledged the Belvidere firefighters Capt. David Burdick, Firefighter/Paramedic Kevin Fox, who were present, Firefighter/Paramedic Joe Erber and Firefighter/EMT Jake Hendrickson, who couldn’t make it to the meeting, and Lifeline ambulance Paramedic Dale Steinhorst and EMT David Hoffman.

“They must have stopped right after I passed by that spot on the road, Sgt. Bird told me. Since I was still close, I decided to I needed to respond. I turned around to see what I could do to help.

“When I opened the passenger door, I saw her take a couple of breaths and then she stopped breathing altogether. I got her out of the car and began CPR. I stayed with her and kept up the CPR until the BFD and ambulance arrived and took over.”

Numerous members of Jessica’s family were present for the award presentation, including Jessica’s 6-year-old twins, Madilynn and Mitchell.

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