Fifteen minutes can change your life… or take it.

A lot of things can happen in fifteen minutes. You could make a phone call. You could skim through a magazine.  You could catch a metro ride. You could get a haircut. You could eat your meal. You could catch up with a friend or loved one. But a life can be taken anytime and anywhere, even in just fifteen minutes. It could happen to you, your family, friend, roommate, teammate, or anyone else. The fact is you can really never know what just might happen in the next fifteen minutes.

In this case, a life was lost on campus, on Monday, August 23rd, because Cheang Kok did not receive medical attention when he needed it the most. Kok worked at the Cafeteria (since 2001), where you might have seen him frequently refilling the fountain drink machines’ ice containers. He was a friendly and diligent worker, and he was often seen riding his bicycle from home to work, and then back home.

On the 23rd, around lunchtime, he fell off the bicycle that he was riding to work on just outside the cafeteria and hit the ground headfirst. The Gallaudet football team was eating lunch in the cafeteria when it happened and they were able to rush outside to try to help him but found him unresponsive and unconscious, making the players helpless out of fear for aggravating his injury some more.

Someone alerted the DPS and, after nearly ten minutes had passed, no one responded to the scene, prompting a football player to run down to the DPS office in Carlin Hall to get help. He was told by a DPS officer to wait because he was dealing with some other students inside the office, regardless of the gravity of the situation that was taking place at Hanson Plaza.

The no-show by DPS forced Gallaudet Head Football Coach Chuck Goldstein to flip Kok over, and he noticed he had blue lips which signaled that he was not breathing at all. Goldstein proceeded to perform CPR on him, before the first DPS officer arrived on the scene and took over the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation effort. Approximately 15 minutes had passed since Kok fell from his bike.

Approximately five minutes after the arrival of the DPS officer, the EMTs (emergency medical technicians) arrived on scene and took over the efforts of resuscitating Kok. Everybody was watching the scene intently, hoping Kok would be successfully revived. Kok was taken off the scene to a nearby hospital and no one knew for a while as to whether if he did survive the accident or not. It was several hours before the community was informed about Kok’s final fate.

So the biggest concern here is the length of time it took DPS to respond to the scene.  What if they had showed up right away? Would they have been able to rescue Kok and avoid this tragedy?

Shocked sophomore Ryan Bonheyo shared his thoughts on the incident. “The death was very unfortunate for the university. I happened to witness the incident. It wasn’t easy watching someone battling for his own life. It was much harder to take in knowing that the DPS office was only a minute away; they decided to take their time responding to the emergency. I think it was an unprofessional act by DPS. I hope they will learn how to respond to the incidents much quicker in the future.”

A life has been taken already because the opportunity to save him was not taken by DPS. The Gallaudet community does not want to see something like this to happen again, and so we must take action now to ensure that something like this tragedy can and will be prevented in the future.

Remember, next time it could be anyone. Even you.

Correction: Due to miscommunication between the writer and the editor, it was originally published that Goldstein performed CPR for approximately 15 minutes, but it has now been edited to state that the DPS officer arrived approximately 15 minutes after Kok fell from his bike. We regret the error.

Photo credit: Leila Hanaumi

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18 Responses to “Fifteen minutes can change your life… or take it.”

  1. Marc Noble
    September 5, 2010 at 4:19 PM #

    Same thing that happened since Carl Dupree’s death in 1991 or 1992, DOSS ( Department of Safety and Security) now is DPS .. I did not about that new name anyway, not even know sign language and not cooperation with deaf students, Carl dupree is choking but too late, so now another one, another lack of communication from DPS, Is Gallaudet University safe place or not ??? need to do something about it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Chris
    September 8, 2010 at 9:39 AM #

    Blaming on DPS all you want.

    When Kok fell and remained unresponsive and unconscious. Why didnt someone call 911 rather than trying to reach DPS?

    I find this ridiculous that this student alerted DPS and didnt bother to call 911.

    You know, when ambulance comes and DPS certainly will be informed by them and guide them to the scene. It will save a lot of time.

    • Will
      September 9, 2010 at 8:02 AM #

      Someone DID call the 911 right away. the article missed a few people. My girlfriend was one of them. she is deaf but she could speak so she went right ahead and called 911 right away and then saw a hearing guy calling 911 so she told the 911 that she will hang up so they can focus on the guy’s call. Gallaudet just e-mailed the campus this morning that this article was inappropriate due to blaming dps for such a late response but the article is true. My girlfriend even hit those emergency post that was supposed to alert the entire dps to it and even then, dps never did respond until a student went down there and call for them. makes me wonder if some of these emergency post is broken or that dps just simply ignored it? The time that it took for DPS and the ambulance to get there for the passed out guy is true in this article.

    • fyi
      October 15, 2010 at 12:05 AM #

      just fyi.. we cant call 911 unless dps approved.. Therefore It is dps’s fault

  3. Gallaudetian.
    September 8, 2010 at 7:33 PM #

    It did NOT take 30 minutes. Be sure to get the proper information next time you write an article.

    Many students are not able to call 911 via cell phones, which is why they need to alert the DPS. Although they should have used the blue emergency posts nearby, which would have gotten the DPS’ attention promptly.

    Get your facts straightened out.

  4. Nick Camus
    September 8, 2010 at 9:44 PM #

    Justin DiBiase, shame on you for blatant sensationalism of poor person’s death. Of course, you are entitled to your opinion about DPS but wouldn’t it make more sense to check with DPS first, to see what they have to say about the incident so you wouldn’t look like a county yokel who blindly runs around screaming about falling skies.

    I just got an e-mail from VP of Gallaudet University, it says:

    “A recent on-line article in Buff and Blue, our student newspaper, faulted the University regarding the length of time required to respond and the quality of the response offered during the incident of the recent death of Bon Appétit employee Cheang Kok. Their story, and its conclusions, was published without contacting the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to obtain information from them on the actions taken surrounding that event. Unfortunately, the article has created an inappropriate response in Internet blogs.

    We have reviewed our phone logs and images from a campus camera, and a DPS officer arrived on the scene within 4.5 minutes of the original contact with DPS. That officer has first-responder training, and began administering CPR and alerted DPS to send for an ambulance, which arrived and subsequently took Mr. Kok to the hospital. The University was subsequently notified of his death.

    Once again, on behalf of the campus community we express our condolences to his family.”

    Perhaps Justin’s last name should be Biased instead of DiBiase?

    As for Marc Noble’s comment, yes Carl Dupree did die, but his death was not caused by DOSS who was only following their procedure on responding to a combative and violent person. I was there and I saw everything that happened. Carl Dupree attacked a female DOSS officer by kicking in her stomach with his foot. Because that female officer was down, another officer had to try to arrest Carl Dupree but he couldn’t do it on his own (Carl Dupree was very big and stocky person), so he called in for help and almost all of DOSS officers ran toward Ely Center to help with his arrest. Carl Dupree continued to fight with them and he was finally arrested. They turned him over, saw his blue lips and tried to administer CPR to him but he died anyways. Had he not turned violent and cooperated fully with DOSS officers in the first place, he would have still been alive today.

    Now that I have explained about how Carl Dupree died, you cannot compare that to Cheang Kok’s death because he fell off his bike and hit his head. We will never know if the head injury did attribute to cause of his sudden death or that he died because of lack of medical attention after accident. Only one way to find out is to have an autopsy, but we won’t know because the family of deceased probably decided not to release the information to the general public.

    Now for Chris’ comment, I have just one thing to say to him. Chris, where is your common sense?

    Three things you need to consider if you think calling 911 is better than contacting DPS:

    1. Majority of people on campus are deaf, how can they call 911 on their cellphones/pagers? Yeah I know that they can use relay service of some sort on their cellphones/pagers but it’s too time consuming. Not also to mention that if you do try to call 911, the only 911 centers will be contacted in the vicinity of relay services (for example if the relay service is based in San Francisco, you’ll get San Francisco 911 services not Washington DC) and it may take forever to get re-routed straight to Washington DC 911 dispatch service).

    2. If a call does successfully go through to the 911 dispatch, do you think the ambulance or fire truck drivesr will know exactly where to go if you told them Hanson Plaza, Carlin Hall, or Receiving Dock? No, they won’t know where to go, that’s why we need to contact DPS so they can arrange for a car at front of Gallaudet campus to escort them to places where they need to go.

    3. It’s best to contact DPS first so they can make one 911 call instead of 10 to 15 people using their cellphones/pagers to call 911 which might flood their dispatch service, preventing them from responding to other urgent emergency calls.

    There are many ways to contact DPS during an emergency. DPS have special e-mail address that all faculty/staff/student can use to reach them in case of emergency. I am not going to put down their e-mail address here because I don’t want autobots to pick it up then send spams to that e-mail address. If you want to know what their e-mail address is, you can go to DPS office and ask them, they would be more than happy to tell you. Also you can push the blue button at their Duress Alarm boxes that are located throughout the campus.

    Before I sign off, there’s two things I want to say. First, I want to say good job to that coach who administered CPR. I wish more people would take first aid and community cpr so we would have more people like him. Secondly, I do not know if Cheang Kok was using bicycle helmet when he fell off his bike. However, I still strongly urge everyone to always wear their bicycle helmet when biking. It’s better to have something on your head that will significantly protect you than nothing if you fell off.

    Be safe, all of you.

    • Another Anonymous Wimp
      September 21, 2010 at 8:38 PM #

      Nick Camus, shame on you.

      SHAME on you for defending DOSS in Carl Dupree’s situation. Carl Dupree’s death left a family, kids n all, without a father. I, too, was there. No matter how wrong Carl may have been in his approach towards DOSS, there is NO PLAUSIBLE EXCUSE for the way DOSS responded in that situation.

      Nick Camus, may you one day get into a dispute with campus security. I hope campus security then tramples on your neck, maiming you in the proccess and leaving your children to be fatherless for the rest of their lives.

      • Meredith
        September 22, 2010 at 10:59 PM #

        Your final paragraph is hateful, not helpful. It is you who should be ashamed. Stick to arguing the facts, not attacking individuals.

    • Dawn
      October 17, 2010 at 11:33 PM #

      I have to disagree with a few of your points.

      1) Even if it did only take 4.5 mins (though it’s not like Gallaudet has never lied about things) that is an unacceptable amount of time seeing as DPS is a hop, skip and jump away from the cafeteria. It takes me 5 mins to walk there and I live on the other side of campus so it should have taken a minute if not less.

      2) This campus is riddled with VP systems which carry a local number for 911 emergencies and which also carry the location of the VP.

      Plain and simple DPS should NOT be the main contact in these sorts of situations where the person is unresponsive. Why should they have to call a middle man. Call some real emergency help.

  5. sarah
    September 8, 2010 at 10:10 PM #

    PLEASE do your research. There was a VIDEO to prove that DPS arrived to scene 4 1/2 minutes. Maybe this was a little too long, but it did not take them 15 minutes.

    • the one and only ridor
      September 29, 2010 at 7:13 PM #

      Fine with me, Sarah. They claimed that there was a video to prove that DPS arrived within 4.5 minutes. Then prove it by showing it to us all.

      So far, I’m still waiting for that video clip. Oh, yeah, the University probably will say that they cannot release the video due to the privacy laws.


      So what’s next? The complacency on DPS’ part is not even surprising at all. It is one of these traditions at Gallaudet — nobody took DPS seriously.


  6. J-P
    September 9, 2010 at 12:32 PM #

    Greetings Gallaudet! I am the former president of the Gallaudet GSA. This is the first that I venture in the B&B’s online world. The incident in question is unfortunate. It could not come at a more difficult time.

    Regarding the argument surrounding the DPS response, reading the accounts, I can only say that neither are wrong, and neither are right. The whole situation is about TRAINING. In today’s world, a single group in an organization should not hold the monopoly of Incident preparedness. While one group may is generally accountable for the response to incident/disaster, including communication with internal and external communities, everybody should have–and receive basic training relative the basic steps to be taken in the event of an incident like this one.

    Speaking of training, it should be both mandatory and annual. Thus, students, staff, and faculty should all be required to take this training annually. In an ideal world, new students would be required to take the training as part of New Student Orientation (NSO).

    If students are not provided adequate safety training, then it would be unfair to blame them for failing to dial 911. I can bet that should the incident happen outside of Gallaudet, the same students would have dialed 911. None will expect anyone to remember the phone number of all the police stations in town. That is why we have 911. But while on campus–and because context matters, students even staff/faulty, would instinctively be tempted to first call DPS. Unless they have been directed otherwise during training. The reason is because if you skipped DPS to call 911, and the external response arrived late AND something tragical happened, you would bear some responsibility, since people would be asking: “Why did you not call DPS?” and understandably, DPS would react with: “They skipped us…” even if, their response could have been slow had they been contacted first.

    This is just another tragedy. However, it should not divide the Gallaudet community. Such division would neither help the victim’s family, nor improve the reputation of the community.

    I wanted to put in my two cents. Prayers go to the victim’s family.

    Best wishes to all of you, Gallaudet students, and to the Gallaudet Community.


  7. anon
    September 15, 2010 at 1:42 AM #

    you wanted to put in ur two cents? doesn’t everyone?

    people, some of you have a tendency to jump to conclusions. Did Kok’s family allow an autopsy? If so, then it should be easier to figure out what exactly led to his death. It is possible he died of his head wound, striking the worst possible spot on his head. It is possible that he had a history of medical problems. He was in his early sixties– many people would have been already retired by that time, three or four years earlier. There are too many factors to consider, and you all point with definite fingers instead of weighing every possibility and without learning the final results of the autopsy (if there was ever one) i’m sure you’ve heard of the ages-old adage: “dont count your chickens before theyre hatched”. You all are so eager to reach a verdict so it’s easier and faster putting the blame on certain people.

    Possess your soul in patience. There is a possibility that DPS is downplaying all of this because they know exactly how popular they are with the rest of Gallaudet community. At the same time, the Gallaudet population are eager to finger DPS because of thier long history with oppressing Deaf people and their rights, but to find equal footing in both should not be that hard. The Dupree incident was a long time ago, and i think it’s fair to say that the officers who were there at that time don’t work at Gally anymore.

    You all target DPS for many reasons, but mainly because all of them are hearing/later-deafened people with much opportunity to be blamed. You all credit DPS as being total dunces, but it is evident that DPS has had training, extensive training. It is possible all of you hate DPS because of the zillionth parking ticket you find on your car or because you’ve gotten busted having a little happy-go-lucky party on the sixth floor at Clerc, replete with various smoking paraphernalia and that dime bag your roommate refused to flush or throw away.

    Basically, one of DPS’ noble purposes is to uncover Gallaudet’s dirty little secrets, and no one likes having their routine or habit interrupted. So they finger DPS because they figure DPS is an easy target. Can all of you say objectively that you understand DPS is doin is job? Or will you make DPS the target of your rage after they’ve busted too much people doing the usual weird stuff on a school night. My advice: to put DPS in a position of total submission, come up with something reaallllly kinky and taboo. Then when their attention is diverted for a few minutes, make your getaway. No guarantees though. Next time? just shove the stuff into ur boxer briefs, no matter how gay you feel.

  8. Another Anonymous Wimp
    September 21, 2010 at 8:36 PM #

    Nick Camus, shame on you.

    SHAME on you for defending DOSS in Carl Dupree’s situation. Carl Dupree’s death left a family, kids n all, without a father. I, too, was there. No matter how wrong Carl may have been in his approach towards DOSS, there is NO PLAUSIBLE EXCUSE for the way DOSS responded in that situation.

    Nick Camus, may you one day get into a dispute with campus security. I hope campus security then tramples on your neck, maiming you in the proccess and leaving your children to be fatherless for the rest of their lives.

    • Lisa
      September 23, 2010 at 3:27 PM #

      It is cruel of you to wish this fate on innocent children.

      • Another Anonymous Wimp
        September 23, 2010 at 9:06 PM #

        …tell that to Nick Camus and to Carl Dupree’s kids.

        • Lisa
          September 26, 2010 at 5:51 PM #

          Do they wish that other kids end up fatherless like them?

  9. Meredith
    September 22, 2010 at 11:00 PM #

    This article needs a link to the Mikell/Morris article updating the situation:

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