(Clockwise) MARTA police Officer in Training B. Dennis, Cpl. M. Woodward, Sgt. L. Martin and Officer K. Softley,.
Photo: MARTA
Photo: MARTA

‘Unbelievable’: MARTA cop recalls saving two lives at DeKalb station

In three years with MARTA police, officer Keith Softley had never had to use his CPR training until last Tuesday. Then he had to use it twice in the span of an hour.

“Unbelievable,” he recalled in an interview.

At 8:48 a.m., he and three other officers responded to a man who was having chest pain at the Kensington station in DeKalb County.  

Softley stayed with the man while others went to get a defibrillator. Before they could get back, the man went into cardiac arrest and passed out.

Softley, who said all four cops played an equal role, assisted with CPR. With that and the shock from the device, the man woke up and was alert by the time an ambulance carried him to the hospital.

The police went about their days, buoyed by the thrill of saving a life. “It was great to have that training actually kick in,” Softley said.

An hour later, the second call came.

This man also was in cardiac arrest at Kensington. The cops could hardly believe it, but at least now they had practice.

They brought the man back, and he too was conscious when an ambulance took him away.

Softley went home and told his wife, who shared in his excitement to be able to help.


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MARTA Police Chief Wanda Dunham was proud and saw the incidents as evidence the authority had done well to supply all 38 stations with defibrillators and train all officers in CPR.

Later, Sgt. L. Martin, who’d also been involved in the saves, checked on the patients. He found out the second man was stable, but the first man had had another episode and died at the hospital.

Martin called Softley and said he had bad news.

“Devastation,” Softley said. “I tried to do the best I could to help that person.”

The others — Cpl. M. Woodward, Officer in Training B. Dennis and Martin — had done all they could too.

Softley wished he could’ve done more, though he knows there is only so much a person can do.


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