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Female Marine trainee found not breathing at Paris Island, life flighted to hospital

Police Officer Sean Sullivan is awarded a coin by Col. Timothy Miller aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Feb. 20. Sullivan aided in the resuscitation of a recruit whose heart stopped aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, Feb. 4. Sullivan is a police officer and Miller is the Commanding Officer of MCAS Beaufort.

A Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island trainee was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital after being found “unresponsive” at the depot, according to a Marine news release.

Oscar Company Parris Island senior drill instructor “Staff Sgt. Acosta” was awakened Feb. 4 by a knock on her door, informed of the recruit’s condition and found the trainee “lying between the foot locker and the racks,” according to the Thursday release, which indicated the incident occurred in a barracks. (Parris Island officials confirmed Friday morning that the drill instructor is Newport News, Va., native Tram A. Acosta, who joined the Corps in 2010 and has served as a DI since July 2015.)

Acosta administered chest compressions and was soon assisted by military policemen Peter Bunting and Sean Sullivan, who administered CPR but had to use a defibrillator when they couldn’t find a pulse.

The recruit was “life flighted to Beaufort Memorial Hospital where she is currently recovering,” according to the release.

The recruit was breathing when Acosta first found her but stopped soon after Acosta reported the incident and called for help.

“I saw that she was still breathing so I immediately ran back and called the duty, and when I returned that’s when her breathing stopped,” Acosta said, according to the release. “I straightaway began resuscitation procedures until first responders arrived.”

While Bunting and Sullivan have assisted with emergencies before, this was the first time one of them had to use a defibrillator.

“I arrived first on scene and as I turned the corner I observed the senior drill instructor giving chest compressions to the downed recruit,” said Bunting, according to the release.

Bunting couldn’t find a pulse, so he radioed Sullivan and requested the life-saving device.

“We’ve probably seen it all when it comes to here and other places we’ve worked,” said Sullivan, according to the release. “(I’ve) done CPR a few times, but this is actually the first that I’ve had to use an actual defibrillator. We’re trained in high-stress situations like this so we don’t really have time to second guess ourselves or get nervous.”

The incident appears to have occurred on Forming Day 2, just a few days into the training process, according to a photo caption accompanying the release.

The release did not specify the recruit’s current condition, the nature of her medical emergency that prompted the life flight or her status in the recruit training process.

On Friday morning, Beaufort Memorial Hospital spokesperson Courtney McDermott said any information about the recruit and her condition would have to come from Parris Island — the hospital cannot release information about patients “under the guardianship/command of the U.S. Government, as is the case with all recruits,” she wrote in an email.

Oscar Company is part of Parris Island’s all-female 4th Recruit Training Battalion, the unit that trains all enlisted women Marines.

The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette have reached out to Parris Island and the hospital for more information.


©2018 The Island Packet (Hilton Head, S.C.)

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