SHARON (KDKA) – Sharon police officers saved the life of a woman who was going into anaphylactic shock Friday morning.
The woman was gasping for air and thrashing on the ground. Also, she wasn’t carrying a working EpiPen.
When police pulled up to the 400 block of North Oakland Avenue, they saw the woman rolling back and forth on the ground. At first they thought she might have been shot or stabbed, but when they got close, they realized she was in anaphylactic shock and needed an epinephrine shot.
Spider bites on her legs appear to be the culprit that set the frightening chain of events into motion for Chrissy Zomparelli.
“With each breath, it gets harder to get one, and you just feel you’re not going to get one,” Zomparelli said.
It was around 7 a.m. when she ran outside to get air, calling 911 before collapsing on her front lawn.
“I’m crawling on the ground, trying to make my way out to the road,” she said.
She mistakenly had only a tester EpiPen with her. The closest working one was in her purse at a friend’s home across the street.
“She was gasping for air, barely breathing,” Sharon Police Lt. Michael Albanese said. “If we weren’t able to get her EpiPen, I believe she would have passed away before the ambulance got there.”
Police ran to the home and rushed back with her EpiPen. Albanese gave her the shot of epinephrine.
“Probably within a second, you could see she was getting her breathing back,” he said. “Within 10 seconds, she was sitting up and breathing fine.”
The lieutenant had never used an EpiPen before and believes officers should be trained to use them because for people like Zomparelli, it can be the difference between life and death.
“Yeah, thank God for them,” Zomparelli said.
Thankfully, the officers were able to save her life.
“It makes me feel good. However, it was the EpiPen that did it,” Albanese said. “If we weren’t able to get that EpiPen, I think she would have passed away in front of us. I think after this, speaking with the chief, it might be a good idea to somehow get an EpiPen in every cruiser.”
The chief of police is very proud of his officers and agrees the current laws should change, allowing police to carry EpiPens in case the need arises.
“There is no law or act that allows us to possess it as a prescription,” Chief Gerald Smith said. “In this case, we used her EpiPen. It was prescribed to her.”
Zomparelli agrees that officers should be allowed to carry EpiPens, pointing out that some children who need them may not always have them on hand.
“Thank God my guys were there to figure out how to use it and administer it to her,” Smith continued. “I’m proud of them.”