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NEWS | Aug. 5, 2016

Military Police instructor, Special agent saves man’s life from overdose

By Sgt. Audrey Hayes 200th Military Police Command

CHARLESTON, S.C.—“The guy was dead. His lips were blue, there was no pulse and his legs were completely tucked under his body,” said Special Agent John Zoerhof.

On Saturday, Zoerhof, a Criminal Intelligence Command special agent assigned to the Marine Corps Detachment at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and an instructor for the United States Army Military Police School (USAMPS) from Holland, Michigan, brought a man back to life after he overdosed on what appears to be heroin.

He was in town to teach a criminal investigation course known as Guardian Shield to a group of U.S. Army Reserve special agent Soldiers from the 200th Military Police Command.
After walking out of a Wal-Mart in Charleston, South Carolina, Zoerhof and his co-worker, Martin Schultz, also an instructor with USAMPS, saw a woman struggling to keep a man from falling over.

“It looked like the guy had cerebral palsy, because his arms were all tucked in and the girl was holding him. I thought she was trying to help him get into the car, when he clearly shouldn’t be driving,” said Zoerhof.

According to Schultz, they we’re heading for the exit of the parking lot when Zoerhof noticed the man fell to the ground.

“So right there, we pulled a U-turn and went to the couple,” he said.

“I asked the lady, ‘Ma’am, is he okay?’ and she just looked at me with a glossed looked in her eyes, and I knew right away that she was high on something or just drunk,” said Zoerhof. “When I told her to call 911, she said, ‘No, don’t call 911!’ and I told her, ‘Look lady, he’s going to die. I mean he’s dead right now.’”

Zoerhof immediately called the paramedics and reported there was no sign of life and that his eyes were rolled into the back of his head.

“While I was on the phone with the 911 operator, I told her I was going to start chest compressions, and she asked if I was CPR certified and if I had a dephibrillator. I was like, ‘Lady, I’m 400 yards from Wal-Mart.’”
While on the phone with 911, Zoerhof started the chest compressions, which he remembered from when he was a CPR instructor in 2000, but never actually performed CPR on anyone but mannequins.

“All I can remember is when you start chest compressions, you can’t stop until paramedics arrive. Once you sink two inches down into the chest, even if you hear a rib crack, you have got to keep going,” he said. “All I could think was, ‘Please Jesus, don’t let this guy die. Put life back into him. Anything.’”

After 60 compressions, the man’s heart began to beat. Zoerhof continued.
Sometime around the mid-200th compression, paramedics arrived to the parking lot.

“After recognizing the man, and being familiar with his drug using habits, the EMTs gave the man two doses of Narcan, a drug used to counteract heroine or opioid overdoses, and he didn’t even budge,” said Shultz.
Zoerhof assumed the man possibly had brain damage or went into a coma.
“I learned that he was released from the hospital that day,” said Zoerhof. “I wanted to visit that guy in the hospital and tell him he should really rethink his life and that it was no coincidence that I was there. I mean, the odds of us going to Wal-Mart at that time and missing the items we missed in the check out line that we had to go back for made the timing too perfect for him to not die.”

“If I could add one thing, I’d just like to say that Jesus Christ had me there for a reason,” said Zoerhof. “Ever since I got saved, I’ve been amazed at how the Lord has used me. The Lord put life back into this guy, like he’s done for me—a perfect example of his grace.”