White powder on shirt could have been fentanyl: GallagherGallagher decided not to because he was concerned the white powder may be fentanyl. Simply touching or inhaling the toxic opioid can be fatal, but despite Gallagher’s hesitation, he said the paramedic on the phone continued asking him to do CPR. “I told them I wasn’t feeling comfortable,” Gallagher said. “It was the first thing that crossed my mind in hearing about it on the news of how potent it is and then what kind of risk am I going to put myself at.” Gallagher said he was on the phone with the paramedic for around seven minutes before a separate crew arrived on scene and helped the woman. Her condition is unknown and it's also unknown if the white powder was fentanyl. The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service reviewed the call and determined it was handled within the standards of the Medical Priority Dispatch System.
St. John Ambulance CEO Brent Fowler said he can't comment on the incident itself. He said in such situations, it can be difficult for 911 dispatchers to get all the facts when responding to emergency calls. But Fowler said people shouldn't put themselves in danger when trying to rescue someone else. “From our point of view, the safety of the rescuers is first and foremost,” Fowler said. "It's a very personal decision." He said concerns about fentanyl come up regularly in the group's first-aid classes. “It used to be HIV was always the concern, then tuberculosis was the concern, but really it’s now fentanyl."
"From our point of view, the safety of the rescuers is first and foremost." —St. John Ambulance CEO Brent Fowler
Also on HuffPost