Mother of shooting victim thanks EMT who provided care

Says she did not realize how close she came to losing son in Essex incident

April 08, 2011|By Mary Gail Hare, The Baltimore Sun

Luana Lee says she never knew how close her 19-year-old son came to dying until she attended the trial this year of the two men charged with attempted murder in his shooting.

She said she heard Lt. Richard A. Lannen, a 47-year-old emergency medical technician, testify that Donald Lee had stopped breathing after being wounded in the chest during a drive-by shooting in Essex two years ago. When Lannen arrived on the scene, police were already performing CPR on a victim who had stopped breathing.

Lannen did an emergency chest decompression, an advanced life-saving technique that relieved stress on the victim's heart and lungs. Then he accompanied the young man to Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

"It was a challenging ride to the hospital as we tried to do everything we could," said Lannen, a 24-year veteran of the Baltimore County Fire Department and a volunteer at the Abingdon volunteer fire company near his home in Harford County. "The kid regained consciousness. He woke up and spoke. I thought his chances were pretty good after that."

Luana Lee handed Lannen a certificate of recognition during a ceremony Thursday at the Middle River Fire Station.

"I came here to thank him with all my heart and to give him a big hug," Lee said. "If he didn't have the expertise on that night, I would not have my son today. I want everyone to know our fire department can save lives."

Donald Lee added his thanks and said he has recovered fully and has returned to work.

"This was a wake-up call that definitely changed my life," he said.

Lannen deflected the praise, saying he was doing his job and calling the response a team effort.

"If it was not me, it would be someone else from here trained just as well," he said. "It's not too often, though, that people come back to thank you."

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