NEW HYDE PARK, NY – The arrival of paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) often occurs during times of great anxiety and crisis. But, during a breakfast held on May 19 to honor EMS personnel from Northwell Health, smiles and handshakes replaced the looks of concern that frequently greet EMTs as several patients and their loved ones gathered to thank the heroic professionals who saved their lives.
First established by President Gerald Ford in 1973 to acknowledge the achievements of EMS agencies, EMS Week serves to remind the public of the vital contribution made by EMTs, paramedics, critical care medics and communications specialists. In recognition of this event, Northwell Health’s Center for Emergency Medical Services (CEMS) held a Second Chance Breakfast to bring together grateful patients whose lives were saved by various “pre-hospital care providers.”
“Being an EMS worker is a tough job,” said Gene Tangney, senior vice president and chief administrative officer at Northwell Health, who recalled his early days as an EMT in Queens. “It requires a special level of professionalism and compassion. “To give people a second chance at life is a special calling. You are truly heroes…you made a difference in an individual’s life.”
One such individual who came to thank “her heroes” is Sonia McCall of Rosedale, Queens. On January 22, 2015, just before 8 a.m., Ms. McCall was arriving for her work shift at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. Without warning, she collapsed in the parking garage.
Several EMTs and paramedics from Northwell Health’s CEMS Core Division were nearby. They found Ms. McCall,who had stopped breathing and was without a pulse. Several hospital staff saw her in distress at the location and performed cardiac pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The EMTs took over CPR and placed Ms. McCall on a cardiac monitor. She was defibrillated and, after a couple of more rounds of CPR, regained a pulse. She was breathing on her own by the time she arrived at the emergency department a few minutes later.
Ms. McCall spent four days in the hospital and subsequently received an automatic internal cardiac defibrillator for a previously undiagnosed genetic condition known as “Prolonged QT Syndrome
With more than 600 employees and over 90 ambulances and other emergency response vehicles, the Northwell Health Center for EMS is the largest hospital-based mobile health program in the East, responding to more than 140,000 requests for help each year.
About Northwell Health
Northwell Health (formerly North Shore-LIJ Health System) is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer. With 21 hospitals and nearly 450 outpatient practices, we serve more than 1.8 million people annually in the metro New York area and beyond. Our 61,000 employees work to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and the School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. And we offer health insurance through CareConnect. For information on our services in more than 100 medical specialties, visit Northwell.edu.