By Carl Macgowan
Newsday (New York)
Copyright 2007 Newsday, Inc.
A training session for fire department paramedics turned into a real-life drama Friday when one of the students went into cardiac arrest. Three paramedics from Long Island and a lieutenant from Howard Beach sprang into action and stabilized the student, Jeffrey Sanger, possibly saving his life.
Sanger, 39, of the Bronx, was in stable condition Friday night at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park. “The guy was in the right place at the right time,” said Lt. Arthur Lester of Howard Beach.
Sanger was among a group of 11 paramedics in the second week of a 14-week paramedic training program at Fort Totten in Queens. He was in the locker room preparing to begin the day’s session when he was overcome by chest pains and what felt like heartburn, and he was extremely pale and sweating, Lester said.
“He hid it from everybody, but he eventually told me,” said Patty Slavic, of Maspeth, the lead instructor of the program.
Sanger collapsed, prompting paramedic instructors Karen Mangal, 38, of Elmont, and Joseph Hudak, 43, of Freeport, to rush to his aid. He had no pulse and had stopped breathing. The paramedics, joined by Lester, administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation before shocking Sanger with a defibrillator. Paramedic Peter Auricchio, 38, of Holbrook, a student in the class, prepared medication. Sanger regained consciousness and vital signs.
“Maybe a minute or two after we shocked him, he started to breathe … and a minute or two later he was talking to us,” Lester said. That made Mangal’s day. “I’m glad I came to work,” she said.