A police chief in Ohio says his subordinate saved a woman’s life after he mistook her asthma attack for a heroin overdose and gave the woman Narcan and began shaking her.
“My dad does not leave her side,” Heather Matson, Tammy Cione’s daughter said.
“We will not know what the damage is for months. This could have been avoided had it not been treated as an overdose.”
It happened on October 14 at around 1 a.m. when Cione collapsed, prompting her frantic husband Louis to call for help.
“I heard my wife fall,” he told The Cincinnati Enquirer.
“I woke up. I grabbed her. I called me son. We laid her out on the floor. [And] I told my son to call 911.”
The dispatcher directed the family to perform CPR on Tammy until police arrived.
An officer who arrived on-scene asked her son if his mother was on any drugs.
He responded she was not on any drugs and that she just suddenly collapsed.
Even though there was no evidence Cione had ingested any drugs, the responding officer still administered Narcan.
“I just watched him and he was shaking her and shaking her and calling her name,” Louis Cione told the Enquirer.
“I told Matt, my son, ‘He’s not even doing CPR. He’s just calling her name and shaking her,’ so I stuck my head in, and I said, ‘Excuse me, do you know how to do CPR or do I need to help?’ I said I don’t know how, but I’ll help if I need to.”
“‘I know what I’m doing; I’m getting a response; step out of the room, sir.'” Cione recalled the officer saying.
Ten minutes later, medics arrived and Tammy was finally transported to a hospital where she was diagnosed with having an asthma attack, which prompted cardiac arrest from respiratory failure.
Pierce Township Police Chief Jeff Bachman said the officer, who used two rounds of Narcan and performed “CPR” for about seven to eight minutes, did nothing wrong and probably saved Cione’s life.
The family tells a different story and says police should have performed CPR sooner.
“If he would have done chest compressions instead of shaking her, then I think she would have been OK,” Cione’s husband said.
“The time that she went without oxygen actually caused the brain injury,” Matson said.
“I feel like because of the heroin epidemic that they’re starting to make assumptions.” Cione’s daughter explained.
“I know she’s not the only one and I’m afraid she wont’ be the last one. I think going in to it with the assumption that it’s an overdose sets up failure for anything else.”
Currently, Cione remains unresponsive at the hospital where she’s being treated.