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Queens Chronicle

Officers save driver stricken near tunnel

Pull from wreck, defibrillate his heart

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Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013 10:30 am

Bridge and tunnel officers of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are being credited with saving the life of a motorist who suffered from a medical condition before crashing his car near the entrance to the Queens Midtown Tunnel on March 13.

According to the MTA, the 35-year-old Bronx man, whose name was not disclosed, was heading west on the Long Island Expressway when he became ill, exited the highway and subsequently lost control of his SUV.

The vehicle crashed crashed into a light pole near an MTA truck checkpoint at 51st Avenue and 11th Street at about 5 p.m. Officer Vedya Figueroa, who was working nearby, responded and sent out the first call for help. BTO Lashaunda Levant-Jones arrived next and shut off the vehicle’s engine.

Sgt. Amy Cowan and Sgt. Christopher Schatz, along with BTO Ronald Linck, removed the man from the vehicle and began hooking him up to an automatic heart defibrillator.

The machines are smaller, portable versions of the ones in hospitals, and are designed to be used by nonmedical professionals to deliver an electric shock to a person whose heart has stopped or is irregularly beating to the point it is an emergency.

The MTA said its facilities all are equipped with the machines and that officers are trained to use them.

The machine immediately indicated that the victim needed a shock to be administered.

An MTA press release stated that Schatz, Linck and BTO Lateef Howard then took turns administering CPR to the patient.

Personnel from an FDNY Emergency Medical Services unit arrived on scene shortly afterward to stabilize the man before transporting him to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan.

A statement issued by the MTA on March 13 said he was in the intensive care unit.

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