Va. Beach EMS explains response to collapsed runner

Photo courtesy Gallagher Family

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A man who witnessed the collapse of a teenager at the Shamrock Half Marathon has concerns about the medical response. 10 On Your Side brought his questions to Virginia Beach EMS officials Monday.

The concerned citizen said he was up all night thinking about what he saw, wondering if more could have been done to save 16-year-old Cameron Gallagher of Richmond. The man is an EMT from another city who happened to be volunteering at the finish line Sunday.

Gallagher collapsed 50 yards after the finish line. The witness said he rushed over to Gallagher and checked her pulse before medics arrived, and she didn’t have one. He said he became worried when medics did not perform CPR.

“Him not feeling a pulse, I cant explain it,” said EMS Division Chief Ed Brazle. “There was a pulse for sometime after that incident occurred.”

Brazle told three of the medics on scene confirmed Gallagher was unconscious, but had a pulse, even when she arrived at the medical tent a short time later. Brazle said that’s why CPR was not necessary right away.

The concerned citizen also wondered why the medical tent was blocks from the finish, suggesting it took too long to get Gallagher to the tent.

“The medical tent placement — that’s a function of space — the race designers and course designers set that. EMS works with how it’s placed,” said Brazle. “All the race groups that come to Virginia Beach have a tremendous amount of experience in this and it’s worked well in the past.”

Brazle said Gallagher was in the tent when paramedics lost her pulse. They tried to resuscitate her and eventually transported her to a nearby hospital where she died.

“We took a hard look at this and feel everything was appropriate,” said Brazle, when asked if the tragedy caused change to any policies or procedures.

He encourages anyone with questions to pick up the phone and call Virginia Beach EMS directly.

Gallagher’s family does not know the exact cause of her death, but suspects it is cardiac-related. They are still awaiting the results of an autopsy.

Gallagher’s parents were by her side when she passed away. They hope Cameron will be remembered for her positivity and be an inspiration to others. In a statement issued by the family, they wrote:

“Cameron finished the race with an ear to ear smile and we will always remember that. We, as a family, will finish every race no matter the course with a smile.”

A representative of the Gallagher family tells they were impressed by the quick response of Beach EMS workers.

Previous coverage: Parents of teen who died after Shamrock Half-Marathon speak out

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