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PR- 160-06
May 18, 2006


Annual Brunch Celebrates a "Second Chance" at Life for Survivors of Cardiac Arrest Saved By FDNY EMTs, Paramedics and Firefighters

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today joined Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta at the 12th Annual FDNY Second Chance Brunch to honor FDNY Paramedics, Emergency Medical Technicians and Firefighters who gave cardiac arrest victims a "second chance" at life by performing CPR. The Second Chance Brunch reunited 16 individuals with the FDNY members who helped save their lives. Among those recognized was 19-month-old Isiah Hollingsworth who was found floating face down, not breathing in the family swimming pool, and 17-year-old Vincin Warren who collapsed and went into cardiac arrest during a basketball game. Both were successfully revived by FDNY members. The Second Chance Brunch is one of seven events held locally during National Emergency Medical Services Week which began on May 14. For the event, held in downtown Brooklyn, the Mayor and Fire Commissioner were joined by First Deputy Fire Commissioner Frank Cruthers, Chief of Operations Salvatore Cassano, Chief of EMS Command John Peruggia and other FDNY officials.

"The individuals reunited here today have been given a second chance at life because of the extraordinary work of the men and women of the FDNY," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Every day, they respond to the call for help and save lives. That's why the City is committed to equipping the FDNY with the latest technology which will make responses even quicker, and help save even more lives."

In April, Mayor Bloomberg announced that all New York City ambulances and Fire Department apparatus including engines, ladder trucks, rescue companies and battalion vehicles would be equipped with the Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system. AVL uses Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology to track the real-time movements of any equipped vehicle, helping dispatchers more accurately deploy emergency resources. During the system's pilot phase, EMS response times to the most serious medical emergencies (Segments 1-3), including cardiac arrest, were reduced by 33 seconds. By June 30, all City ambulances participating in the 911 system will be fully equipped with AVL.

"Over 1.3 million times a year, Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians provide urgently needed medical care to residents and visitors of New York City," said Fire Commissioner Scoppetta. "As we have heard from the amazing stories today, one important factor in saving victims of cardiac arrest is the early application of CPR. There is no question that CPR saves lives."

Cardiac arrest is a condition where the heart stops and there is no heartbeat. Each year, more than 350,000 people in the United States suffer from cardiac arrest. Many of these victims die before reaching the hospital, usually within two hours of the onset of symptoms. National research has shown that early application of CPR and defibrillation, within the first few minutes after sudden cardiac arrest greatly increases the survival rate.

At the Second Chance Brunch, some of the stories of survival included:

On July 19, 2005, Yonnette Hollingsworth of Brooklyn was feeding her 19 month-old son, Isiah, at 9312 Avenue M in Brooklyn when she briefly left to go to the bathroom. When she returned, Isiah had wandered into the backyard and into the family pool, where he was found face down in the water. Her 15-year-old son, Nevillion, pulled Isiah out and began resuscitation efforts. EMTs James Byrnes and Phillip Derosa responded to the home and immediately began CPR on the infant. Since no air appeared to be filling the lungs, EMT Byrne took Isiah and began obstructed airway procedures. This proved to be successful and he began to spit-up the water trapped in his lungs. EMT Byrne then started rescue breathing by using a device called a bag-valve-mask (BVM). By this time, Fire Department Paramedics Howard Henry and Raymond Bartolomey were on the scene and directed the EMT crew to the ambulance where they continued with artificial respirations and airway suctioning. Paramedic Henry could feel a pulse but urged EMT Byrne to keep up the ventilations. Isiah was transported to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Brookdale Hospital and was home 10 days later.

On the evening of March 10, 2005, Vincin Warren, a 17-year-old student at Grover Cleveland High School in the Bronx, went to the nearby playground to play basketball when he suddenly collapsed. Within minutes, FDNY EMTs Michael King and Andre Zulkifli arrived on scene and found Vincin lying on the court not breathing. EMT King started CPR and EMT Zulkifli applied the defibrillator to Vincin's chest. After two shocks, Certified First Responders from Engine Company 69 arrived and assisted with the CPR already in progress. After a third shock, his pulse returned.  Paramedics quickly arrived and started advanced care, continuing to ventilate Vincin as they transported him to Harlem Hospital, where doctors continued to monitor his condition closely. Vincin was then transferred to Columbia Presbyterian, where he was evaluated and received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. One month after his cardiac arrest, Vincin was back in school.


Stu Loeser/Virginia Lam   (212) 788-2958

Francis X. Gribbon   (Fire Department)
(718) 999-2056

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