San Diego

Bailiff's First Responder Training Saves Juror's Life

“He looked at me and I knew he was seeing something I wasn’t seeing,” the juror said.

Two men hugged each other in a courtroom Monday. One was a bailiff and the other was a man whose life he helped save.

Community Service Officer Tom Neal has been patrolled Judge Kevin Enright’s courtroom for years, but he does more than just protect and manage the courtroom, jurors, staff, plaintiffs, and defendants.

“I do a lot of observation,” Officer Neal said.

On September 7, he observed jury foreman Dan Geduld, an NBC 7 Story Producer, was limping. He asked Geduld if he was OK, and Geduld told Neal it was “an old injury that he had sustained some time ago.”

“I didn’t think it was anything that serious,” Geduld said. “And like a complete idiot, I actually walked to lunch.”

Geduld walked down two flights of stairs, around the corner, and back up again.

“I should have died on these steps on the way back from lunch,” he said.

Officer Neal immediately said he noticed Geduld looked worse upon his return.

“He looked at me and I knew he was seeing something I wasn’t seeing,” said Geduld, who said the pain had moved from his leg into his chest and his vision had become fuzzy. Geduld convinced the court to recess an hour early so he could go to his doctor, but Officer Neal wasn’t going to let him wait that long.

Just as the bailiff was going to tell Geduld he was calling an ambulance, Geduld asked for one himself.

Neal, a 17-year veteran and trained first responder, relayed all the warning signs and symptoms to the paramedics including the pain in Geduld’s leg, which turned out to be an important detail.

Geduld said the paramedics might have thought he was having a heart attack if the pain was only in his chest.

“It was not a heart attack,” said the jury foreman. “This was called an aortic dissection… I’m told that the aorta has ripped one or two layers and in my case it ripped from the heart down to the knee, the entire length… I should have died a hundred times over before I made it over to the hospital but I didn’t.”

Monday, a much healthier Dan Geduld embraced Officer Neal and thanked him personally. Geduld said he may have considered going home to rest if it wasn’t for Officer Neal’s persistence.

“That’s what saved my life.”

Two-and-a-half months after Sharp doctors repaired his aortic dissection, Geduld returned to work. Welcome back, Dan!

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