The Gift of Life


This article appeared on the SRPD Facebook page on 7/20/15.


I have written a few times before about officers who were able to save a life by performing CPR or first aid during the emergency situations they handle regularly while on patrol. Today I have another lifesaving story for you, but one that played out differently than most.

Officer Mike Clark, pictured above, works as a patrol officer covering the City on weekend day shifts. He also served for many years as one of our Canine Handlers, a defensive tactics instructor, and more recently as a member of the Department’s SWAT Team. You may also remember Mike because he was the Rotary Club’s Officer of the Year in 2012 for his efforts to save the life of a felony assault suspect who crashed his car while fleeing from Mike on Highway 101. Mike was able to break the driver’s window and pull the injured and very large man from the burning car just before it became fully engulfed.

On June 28th of this year, Mike was dispatched to a home for a medical emergency in which a young woman was unresponsive and did not appear to be breathing. The victim suffered from a terminal illness, and when Mike arrived he found another person performing CPR. Mike took over, checking to ensure the victim’s airway was open and determining that the victim had no pulse. Mike began performing chest compressions and continued until emergency medical crews arrived. The EMS personnel believed the victim was deceased and told Mike they were not going to continue CPR. Mike stopped his chest compressions and found that the victim had a weak pulse. He told the medics, who immediately took over CPR and were able to restore the victim’s pulse and breathing.

Medical staff at Memorial and later Kaiser Hospitals placed the victim on life support, but she ultimately succumbed to her disease and passed away days later. When diagnosed with her illness however, this woman chose to be an organ donor.   Her gracious gift might have gone unrealized had it not been for Officer Clark’s decisive to resuscitate her, and while his lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful in the end, those efforts did provide doctors enough time to locate five suitable matches who needed organ transplants. We are very sorry for the loss of this woman and for her family’s grief, and we thank her, Mike Clark, and the medical personnel who enabled five others to receive the gift of life from this generous woman.

– Captain Craig Schwartz

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