Pennsylvania Avenue traffic was running its usual afternoon pace on March 28 when what looked like a minor fender bender turned out to be a real medical emergency. Officer Angelia Boddie, a 20-year veteran of the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department, had gone into cardiac arrest while on duty behind the wheel, leading to the accident. Fortunately, she was just moments from the George Washington University (GW) Hospital. Pedestrians called 911 and got to work administering CPR to revive Boddie. She was taken to GW Hospital, where she was placed on life support and treated.
Among the responders was first-year GW medical student, Brandon Glousman, who had performed CPR on her, “It is amazing how all of this turned out; I am proud to have been a part of it” he said. Glousman is considering a focus in cardiology or emergency medicine. Also on the scene were a Georgetown medical student, a Boy Scout troop leader, and an Advisory Neighborhood Commission member.
On April 25, less than a month since the accident, GW Hospital hosted a press conference highlighting the rescuers’ heroics and celebrating Boddie’s recovery. It was also Boddie’s first time coming face-to-face with those who had a hand in saving her life.
She offered her thanks to those “good Samaritans,” many of whom were her own colleagues, whose swift action helped her. She noted how remarkable it was that after two decades of devotion to saving lives, this group of people took such quick action to save hers in return.
Bruno Petinaux, M.D., co-chief in the section of emergency management and associate professor of emergency medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences and chief medical officer at GW Hospital, who was the attending physician in the ER that day, also spoke at the press conference. Petinaux emphasized how lucky Boddie was that these pedestrians acted as quickly as they did. “There is no doubt in my mind that the actions of these bystanders were truly the most critical reason why Officer Boddie is still alive to this day,” he said.
During the press conference, D.C. Fire and EMS Chief, Gregory Dean, recognized the responders and presented them with Cardiac Arrest Save Coins, which are given to department members and bystanders who act to return a pulse to someone who has lost it. “It takes a village to take care of each other, and this is a great example of that,” Dean said.