Right place, right time takes on new meaning for Blinn College District police officers

Officers' quick response to Nov. 21 emergency at the CHI St. Joseph Rehabilitation Center helps save man's life

February 24, 2020

Officer ChavezFor Blinn College District Police Officers Joel Chavez and David Spittler, a routine shift patrolling the Blinn College-Bryan Campus turned into a lifesaving emergency when they responded to a call at nearby CHI St. Joseph Rehabilitation Center.

The Thursday, Nov. 21, incident was reported as a CPR in progress, so the officers expected to assist facility staff with chest compressions until EMS arrived. Instead, they walked into find an unconscious man on the floor bleeding profusely.

“When we walked back to the physical therapy area and saw blood everywhere I realized this was not a CPR call,” Spittler said. “From our training we know this can cause death within minutes.”

According to his family, Dwayne Muzny was at the rehabilitation center for physical therapy following surgery to his right leg, which had been injured weeks earlier after a tree fell on it. After collapsing during routine exercises, Muzny’s wound was aggravated and began to bleed.

“It was pretty scary, but this is the type of situation where you apply your training,” Spittler said. “As a department, we practice a lot of first aid and we had the confidence to apply our knowledge. It feels good not to be helpless when you encounter something like this.”

Officer SpittlerAs the first responders on-site, the Blinn officers quickly put their expertise as combat casualty care instructors to work. Spittler administered tourniquets to Muzny’s leg to stop blood loss while Chavez communicated with en route emergency personnel to monitor their arrival and prepare them for what to expect at the scene.

Within minutes, EMS arrived to transport Muzny to a nearby hospital, where he underwent another surgery to amputate his leg. If not for the Blinn officers’ quick actions, Muzny may have lost his life.

“Officers Spittler and Chavez are dedicated professionals and their ability to be proactive and take charge of this emergency is a testament to their skill and professionalism,” Blinn Police Chief John Chancellor said. “Blinn police officers are exposed to every type of disaster situation and the College’s support for these efforts ensures we are prepared to take action at a moment’s notice.”

Spittler and Chavez credit their preparedness to Blinn’s dedication to mock scenarios that often involve collaboration with other law enforcement agencies.

“We regularly conduct scenario-based training sessions using tourniquets and other life-saving equipment,” Chavez said. “These exercises prepare us for real-life applications. One recent training in particular included an incident almost exactly like Mr. Muzny’s emergency.”

The Blinn Police Department oversees the safety and well-being of students, faculty, and staff members at Blinn. With 30 commissioned officers and additional support staff, the department is a State of Texas-certified police agency that investigates all crimes on campus property and strives to serve the community as a whole.

“Everyone says to me, you saved this person’s life, but the way I see it, this was a win for the department,” Spittler said. “It was the training, equipment, and support we get that made it possible to save Mr. Muzny’s life.”

For more information about the Blinn College District Police Department, visit www.blinn.edu/police-emergency-management.

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