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Jack Pintchik Medal

June 2, 1997, 1530 hours
562 East 31st Street, Brooklyn

Lieutenant Jeffrey Halpern

Paramedic Karen Mangal

Jeffrey Halpern was appointed to EMS on September 26, 1983. Assigned to EMS Battalion 44. Cited on several occasions. Attended Long Island University. Resides in Brooklyn with his wife, Barbara. They have a son, Mathew.

Jeffrey Halpern

Karen Mangal was appointed to EMS on April 11, 1988. Assigned to EMS Battalion 58. She has been cited on several occasions. Attended Queens Borough Community College. Resides in Elmont, Long Island, with her two daughters.

Karen Mangal

Oftentimes, the EMTs and Paramedics of FDNY’s Emergency Medical Service Command come face to face with some of the most trying and troublesome situations that one can imagine. Yet these also can be the most rewarding of all of life’s projects because the lives of others are so positively affected by their actions. Such was the case on June 2, 1997, when Lieutenant Jeffrey Halpern and Paramedic Karen Mangal responded to a call for an emotionally disturbed person in a private residence in Brooklyn. Any emergency service worker knows the importance of PFA or psychological first aid. It is one of the most basic, but effective measures used to treat a patient. In many cases, it can make the difference between calm and confusion. In extreme cases like this, it can be the difference between life and death. At approximately 1530 hours, Lieutenant Halpern and Paramedic Mangal entered the home of a 62- year-old cancer patient. Upon their arrival, the patient’s aide met them at the door and informed them of the situation. The distressed man had become violent and was upstairs "throwing things and, just generally, acting crazy." The aide also informed them of the man’s medical history, stating that the cancer had metastasized in his brain. Knowing that the man was acting irrationally, Lieutenant Halpern and Paramedic Mangal ran up the stairs. On the second floor, they found the bathroom door was shut. Not only was the man locked inside, but the door was barricaded. Although a request had been placed for police back-up, none was available at that moment. The medical team broke the door in, just in time to see the patient attempting to exit through the window. Using their knowledge and experience with rendering PFA, the team was able to approach the man. Just as he shifted his weight out of the window, Lieutenant Halpern and Paramedic Mangal caught the man by an arm and a leg. Although the window had just been broken and the jagged pieces of glass had become a serious hazard, Lieutenant Halpern and Paramedic Mangal managed to hold onto and eventually haul the distressed man back into the bathroom, a process that took more than five minutes. Subjecting themselves to great personal risk, Lieutenant Jeffrey Halpern and Paramedic Karen Mangal rescued an emotionally disturbed man before he could cause serious harm to himself. They are commended for their quick thinking and courageous acts and are presented with the Jack Pintchik Medal for 1997.--KC

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