One more week with Mom
Bridgeview cops save woman, daughter grateful
By Steve Metsch
Two Bridgeview police officer shrug off their actions as part of their jobs, but they did play a key role in saving a woman’s life.
Sadly, that woman died one week later. But her daughter is thankful to the officers.
“They gave me one more week with my mom,” Donna Puga said.
Patricia Wetterquist died Nov. 19, one week after police officers Chris Pell and Michael Sanchez helped save her life.
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“A call came of an unresponsive female at the mobile home park (at 87thStreet and Harlem Avenue). We responded. We were working together on another thing, so we were in the same car and went over there,” Sanchez recalled.
Pell began performing CPR on Wetterquist as Sanchez ran to the patrol car to get the AED device used for those who are unresponsive.
“When we first got there, it didn’t look good,” Pell said. “We didn’t need the AED. This time, CPR did the trick and the paramedics soon arrived.”
Bridgeview police officers Michael Sanchez, left, and Chris Pell saved a woman’s life using CPR, giving her family one more week with her before she passed away. Photo by Steve Metsch.
The officers said they were simply “doing their job,” but Puga knows better.
“They absolutely saved her. They bought us another week with her. I think what they did is amazing,” Puga said
Pell said, “We did what we could do. It feels good to know we helped save someone’s life. We got there in time.”
Doctors did not expect her to make it through that first night, but she proved them wrong, Puga said.
“In the middle of the week, she was able to breathe on her own for a while. She was talking, moving around.,” Puga said.
Heart failure eventually did claim her mother’s life.
“She had heart issues. She had throat cancer seven years ago. But she beat that,” Puga said. “She was a strong fighter, battled hard.”
On Nov. 12, her mother was eating and began choking. “I don’t know CPR,” Puga said, “so I called 911. The officers were there in a minute or two.”
“Had they not been Johnny on the spot …” she added.
Her mother “was a very giving woman who loved her family,” and will be missed, said Puga, 50, an only child. Wetterquist was born in Chicago, raised in Cicero and was the eldest of six children, her daughter said.
Shortly after he mother died, Puga went to the police station to thank the officers.
“That doesn’t happen very often,” Pell said of Puga’s action. “Usually, someone comes in to beef.”
Puga hopes to make a donation to a charity of the officers’ choice in order to show her appreciation.
Pell, 36, been with Bridgeview police for four years. He previously was a dispatcher there. Sanchez, 41, is in his second year with the department. He had been with the Chicago Police Department, he said.
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