911 dispatcher coaches bystander by phone to help save woman’s life


DE SOTO, Mo. – A De Soto man and a 911 dispatcher worked together to bring an accident victim back to life.

The woman was walking on a Jefferson County road when she was hit Wednesday night.

Ronnie Shaw stopped to help her. Shaw was helped by Jefferson County 911 dispatcher Chris Blankenship.

“He’s a rock star. He did a very good job,” Blankenship said. “He saved that woman’s life for sure.”

The victim was brought to Mercy Hospital.

“In my eyes, (Blankenship) is the actual hero of the day,” Shaw said.

Shaw worked closely with dispatcher Blankenship to bring the woman back to life.

The 42-year-old woman was hit on a dark section of State Route CC, not far from De Soto. Shaw said she didn’t have a pulse.

“She was laying there. She was lifeless. She wasn’t breathing,” he said.

Shaw called Jefferson County 911 and Blankenship began giving him CPR instructions.

Training and experience prepared Blankenship and his fellow dispatchers for an incident like this.

“The most terrifying experience in my life,” Blankenship said. “I’d put it up there with my child being born. It’s terrifying. You’re not there, you have to literally tell someone step-by-step instructions how to save someone’s life and you can’t verify they’re actually doing it.”

Now he can practically do it in his sleep. Shaw took a CPR course 12 years ago but hadn’t used his training since then. Plus, he was shaken; he saw the woman get hit.

“It was pretty horrific to see what happened,” Shaw said.

After about five minutes of chest compressions, the woman was brought back to life.

“I feel like we were working together as a team,” Shaw said.

The message from both men: learn CPR. You may need it someday for a friend, loved one, or even a stranger.

Dispatchers also help folks deliver babies and administer Narcan to overdose victims.
At last report, the woman who was hit was in critical condition at Mercy Hospital.

“I feel I did my job. He’s the hero,” Blankenship said. “He didn’t have to stop; he didn’t have to help. Most people don’t.”

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