2018-03-16 / Front Page

Red Cross hero

Scarborough resident cited for life-saving action
By Grant McPherson Staff Writer


Scarborough resident Marcia Scott was honored Tuesday morning in Lewiston at the Red Cross 2018 Real Heroes Breakfast. In September, she saw Richard Poulin and his wife in their truck stopped in the middle of the road on the way to Rangeley. Poulin went into cardiac arrest while driving and Scott performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived. (Courtesy photo) Scarborough resident Marcia Scott was honored Tuesday morning in Lewiston at the Red Cross 2018 Real Heroes Breakfast. In September, she saw Richard Poulin and his wife in their truck stopped in the middle of the road on the way to Rangeley. Poulin went into cardiac arrest while driving and Scott performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived. (Courtesy photo) The American Red Cross honored a Scarborough resident this week for her compassion and decisive action that most likely helped save a complete stranger’s life.

Marcia Scott and several Maine residents were recognized at the 2018 Real Heroes Breakfast by the Central and Mid Coast Maine chapter of the Red Cross in Lewiston on Tuesday, March 13.

The Red Cross recognizes individuals annually who “commit extraordinary acts to help people in need.”

Scott was driving to Rangeley on Route 17 last September when she encountered California residents Richard Poulin and his wife Betty stopped in their truck in the middle of the road.


The Red Cross recognizes community members each year who exhibit selflessness and courage toward those in need. From left, Marcia Scott, Richard Poulin and his wife, Betty, appeared before the Central and Mid Coast Maine chapter of the American Red Cross’ 2018 Real Heroes Breakfast. (Courtesy photo) The Red Cross recognizes community members each year who exhibit selflessness and courage toward those in need. From left, Marcia Scott, Richard Poulin and his wife, Betty, appeared before the Central and Mid Coast Maine chapter of the American Red Cross’ 2018 Real Heroes Breakfast. (Courtesy photo) The husband and wife have a home in Lewiston and were also driving to Rangeley to look at a camp. Richard was behind the wheel near Rumford when he experienced cardiac arrest.

The car slowed down as Richard became unconscious and his wife put the car in park and dialed 911.

“They kept telling me they couldn’t hear me,” Betty said. “Of course later on the paramedics told me I was about a mile outside of the dead zone.”

Betty said it was only a few minutes before Scott arrived and offered to help.

“I saw a small pickup truck stopped in the middle of the road,” Scott said. “I was driving and slowed down cautiously. It seemed odd. There was no other traffic. I pulled up along to the right side and lowered my window. I could see (Betty) in the vehicle. I didn’t see Richard at first. (Betty) was in the middle seat over him. I asked if everything was OK and she turned to face me. She was very distraught and I could see him slumped over the wheel.”

Scott got out of her vehicle to help Richard and Betty. After checking Richard’s pulse and not feeling anything, she unbuckled Richard, laid him across the front seats and began to perform CPR. Betty was finally able to speak to a 911 operator and an ambulance was dispatched to the scene.

“The 911 call coached me through the breathing while I was doing compressions,” Scott said. “I’m sure it was only a matter of minutes, but it felt like forever. I remember asking the 911 operator about how many breaths to give and how long I should wait to give more compressions. I don’t remember the details. I can remember at one point feeling tired and thinking I was not sure how long I could keep doing this. But there was no way I was going to stop either.”

Paramedics transported Richard to Rumford Hospital. He was then taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston by helicopter. Richard underwent surgery to have a defibrillator placed in his heart, which he said is designed to shock his heart in case it ever gets out of rhythm again. Scott drove Poulin’s car to Rumford while Betty rode in the ambulance as well.

“She did her part,” Betty said. “I know she was so overwhelmed. I called her the day after Richard woke up to tell her he was OK. It was all I could say other than thank you. She had done more than her share. I honestly believe he wouldn’t have survived if not for her. I couldn’t do anything but literally try to get somebody to help us. It was one of those surprises she happened to be driving by.”

Scott met with the Poulins in October before they flew back to California. It was the first time Richard had a chance to meet Scott and thank her for her help.

“One question that surprised me is he asked about what made me make the choice I did to do CPR,” Scott said. “For me it was never a choice to go into action.”

Richard and Betty flew back to Maine to attend the Real Heroes Breakfast. Richard now refers to Scott as his “Road Angel” whenever he recounts the story. Richard is a volunteer for the Red Cross and is also certified to perform CPR. He told the story of Scott’s help at the Lewiston office and his supervisor there decided to nominate her for the Real Heroes award.

“Here I am a Red Cross worker supposed to perform (CPR) on someone else and a complete stranger performed it on me,” Richard said.

Richard said he was grateful to everyone who helped him survive his cardiac arrest including the Rumford Fire Department and the members of Central Maine Medical Center.

Scott, who became CPR certified nearly 20 years ago, said she hopes her story will spur others to learn the potentially lifesaving procedure.

“It’s definitely unsought, unwanted attention for me,” she said. “The positive thing is if this can spread the word about the importance of knowing CPR.”

Staff Writer Grant McPherson can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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