OnStar dispatcher Bryan Anta has been named 2014 Dispatcher of the Year by the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch for his quick-thinking instructions to a woman who couldn’t speak because she was having a serious Asthma attack on the side of the road. The Dispatcher of the Year award is handed out annually to the dispatcher who makes the most significant contribution to further the values and mission of the IAED.
During one of Anta’s shifts, Natoshya Reed was experiencing chest pains and decided to drive herself to the hospital. On the way there, with her 3-year old daughter in the back seat, she had a serious asthma attack and was unable to speak. After pulling over to the side of the road, she used a phone to call her mother and pressed the OnStar button in her car. Once connected to OnStar, an advisor contacted first responders to send help to the vehicle, while Anta stayed on the line to provide emergency medical instructions to Reed.
With Reed being unable to speak and a crying child in the vehicle, the situation was hard for Anta to understand. That’s when he began asking her questions, instructing her to honk the horn once for yes and twice for no. Once he had an understanding of the situation, Anta was able to instruct her on breathing techniques and keep her calm until first responders arrived.
“At first, it was very difficult to determine what was happening. I heard a faint voice in the background, a baby crying and someone gasping,” said Anta. “I tried to picture the driver in my mind and determine the best way to assess the situation.”
In addition to Reed’s call, Anta has assisted with a number of other notable emergency calls over the course of the past year. In one call, he gave instructions on pre-arrival care and CPR to a woman whose husband suffered a severe heart attack in the vehicle. He has since made a full recovery.
Anta accepted the award today during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Navigator Conference.
“I still can’t believe it, I’m very honored,” said Anta. “I’ve always had a passion for helping people and I’ve always wanted to do that with my life. Working at OnStar gives me the opportunity to do that at the highest level.”
OnStar emergency advisors are trained to use the Medical Priority Dispatch System, a medically approved protocol that determines the urgency of a medical emergency and guides advisors as they provide medical instructions. However Anta is known for stepping up, going beyond what is suggested in the protocol to help people.
“Bryan is one of those rare EMDs who goes beyond knowing the protocol in and out, and is able to understand the big picture and the reasons for what we do,” said Dr. Paul Stiegler, OnStar medical director. “He is incredibly focused on the scene and is able to comprehend what’s going on in a caring way. He represents the best of what EMD is about.”