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Press Releases / 2005 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 19, 2005


The New York City Fire Department held its 11 th Annual Second Chance Brunch today at the Chase Metro-Tech Cafe in downtown Brooklyn . The event reunited victims of cardiac arrest with the FDNY Paramedics, Emergency Medical Technicians and Firefighters who gave them a “second chance” at life.

Recent studies continue to show that sudden cardiac arrest is a major unresolved health problem throughout the world. Each year, it strikes over 350,000 people in the United States alone. Sadly, many of these victims die before reaching the hospital, usually within two hours of the onset of symptoms. Research has shown that early defibrillation, within the first few minutes after sudden cardiac arrest and followed by advanced care, greatly increases the survival rate.

“As we have heard from the amazing stories today, one important factor in saving victims of cardiac arrest is the early application of CPR,” said Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. “There is no question that CPR saves lives. That’s why we are now in the process of creating a dedicated CPR training unit within the Department, consisting of experienced EMTs, who will be committed to the teaching of this life-saving technique.“

The 11 th Annual “Second Chance Brunch” and other EMS Week Events are made possible through the generosity and support of Matthew Pintchik and the Pintchik Family, The FDNY Fire Safety Education Fund, Medtronic, Inc., Van Wagner Outdoor Advertising, Viacom Outdoor, Philips Medical Systems, National Print Group, Inc., Laerdal Medical Corporation, Pfizer, Inc.

Some of the amazing stories of survival include:

Three-month-old Katherine Anne Thorpe was in her crib when her parents heard her distressed cry and then noticed she had stopped breathing. Her father happened to be trained in CPR and began compressions while her mother called 911. The EMS operator relayed instructions for CPR over the speakerphone. Fire Department EMTs Ryan Daley and Gary Thomas arrived on scene and raced up to the apartment in the freight elevator to find Katherine in cardiac arrest. EMT Daley lifted her across his arm and continued CPR down to the ambulance where he and his partner met up with paramedics from Lenox Hill Hospital .

The paramedics applied a cardiac monitor and found Katherine in a shockable ventricular fibrillation rhythm. They delivered a shock and then immediately headed to the hospital. Within a short time after arriving at the hospital, a pulse had returned and the sound of a cardiac monitor could be heard, indicating that Katherine’s heart was beating normally.


Abraham Lind-Oquendo, an opera singer and actor, was at home when he began having chest pain. His sister, Sarah, a registered nurse, made the call to 911. Paramedics Jorge Chalen and Antonio Adorno arrived and administered medication to Lind-Oquendo to alleviate the pain. As he was being removed to the hospital, his heart rhythm suddenly changed, causing his heart to stop. The paramedic team quickly applied the defibrillator and after one shock his heartbeat was restored. Lind-Oquendo recalls waking up and hearing sister ‘s voice. He returned home after a weeklong stay in the hospital. A world-renowned performer, Lind-Oquendo received many “Get well” wishes from his co-workers and fans. On May 20 th, he will be performing at a concert “Excerpts of Operas with Spanish Plots.”

Contact: Francis X. Gribbon, David Billig and Maria Lamberti (FDNY) (718) 999-2056

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