Customs and Border Protection EMTs save woman's life at Dulles airport

For 10 minutes, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) emergency medical technicians administered lifesaving efforts on an unresponsive female traveler at Washington Dulles International Airport on Sunday.

According to CBP, the emergency medical technicians began their rescue attempts at 5:36 p.m. shortly after airport ambassadors alerted nearby officers of an unresponsive woman in a wheelchair near the baggage belt. 

The 54-year-old was traveling from the United Arab Emirates and had just arrived at Dulles after a 15-hour flight.

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Officials say CBP Officer Nicholas Karstetter, who is a certified advanced EMT, and Supervisory CBP Officer Herman Hundal, another certified EMT, responded and immediately performed CPR. 

Hundal would also connect the woman to an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), but the AED advised against shock during three separate assessments.

Two additional CBP officers, Chief Leo Carbone, another certified EMT, and Supervisor Harmanpreet Singh arrived and took turns administering CPR compressions while Kartsetter implemented a King airway device.

Moments later, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) Fire and Rescue arrived and continued to provide aid to the victim. They placed the woman on a stretcher and departed CBP’s inspection station. 

A minute later, MWAA EMS reported that the woman regained a pulse.

Nearly two hours after CBP EMTs intervened, MWAA Police officers reported that the woman was breathing on her own at the hospital.

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"Though the woman didn’t regain a pulse until she was en route to the hospital, the incredible lifesaving efforts by Customs and Border Protection EMTs during those critical first 10 minutes have helped her to survive so that she can spend more time with her family and friends again, and that is a great story," said Daniel Escobedo, CBP’s Area Port Director for the Area Port of Washington, DC. 

"CBP is comprised of many compassionate and caring professional law enforcement officers who have volunteered to serve an additional duty as EMTs to ensure that travelers suffering medical distress have a fighting chance at life."

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has had highly trained emergency medical specialists for many years, but EMT certification is relatively new for CBP’s Office of Field Operations.