Above the Call

Counselor acts to save incarcerated person

Correctional Counselor stands in front of a prison building.
Correctional Counselor Ross Scott helped save a choking incarcerated person at California Institution for Women.

The day seemed like any other, but Correctional Counselor Ross Scott soon had to put his training to the test to save a person’s life. He was sitting in his office at California Institution for Women (CIW) on Feb. 26 when he heard cries of help coming from the nearby dayroom.

Immediately responding to the dayroom, Scott found Monique Hamilton choking and unable to breathe. Several incarcerated people surrounded Hamilton, trying to help.

Scott rushed to assist, asking everyone to step aside. First trying abdominal thrusts, the effort was unsuccessful.

That’s when Scott said his training and instincts took over. He helped Hamilton lean over a chair and showed her how to use it to assist with thrusts. With the obstruction dislodged, she immediately started coughing and gasping for air.

Scott began asking Hamilton yes or no questions to ensure the obstruction was cleared. He stayed to monitor the incarcerated person until medical staff could respond. Once institution’s Fire Department and ambulance arrived to evaluate Hamilton, Scott returned to his office and continued his work.

Hamilton is grateful Scott was on-duty that day and has thanked him every morning since.

Scott said he is a firm believer that you will only rise to the lowest level of your training.

“I didn’t think, I just reacted like I knew exactly what to do,” Scott said.

Read more stories of staff going above the call.

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