Bystanders Performed CPR Before Paramedics Arrived

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Everyone likes a second chance, but it’s something special when you get a second chance at life after being resuscitated from cardiac arrest.

As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported, a celebration called the Second Chance Brunch was held on Randalls Island Wednesday for a dozen cardiac victims, most of whom had the benefit of bystander CPR before paramedics arrived. Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said the bystanders’ actions were critical in saving lives.

Jason Kroft from Canada was in Times Square when he collapsed next to his wife.

“She grabbed me,” Kroft said. “I was collapsing and called for help and 911.”

But before first responders arrived, bystander John Carey sprang into action.

He said he “tried to do what I could do before paramedics got there for about eight minutes.”

There was mouth-to-mouth and compression until paramedics arrived.

“Any New Yorker would have done the same thing,” Carey said.

A Rockaway Park nurse and her police officer husband did the same for a neighbor who collapsed in their building’s laundry room.

“Saw that he was not breathing, didn’t have a pulse, started CPR,” said the nurse, Kathleen David.

They saved Sean Moogan, 55.

“It’s the ultimate sacrifice a person can give to another — try to save a life,” Moogan said.

Madonna Gay, also 55, collapsed on a city bus in Brooklyn. EMS brought her back.

“When I saw her, I knew she needed CPR right away and we really needed to act fast on it,” said Letitia Miller.

A team of professionals worked to give six children their mother back.

“I have no words. They wouldn’t give up; seemed like forever,” said Gay’s daughter, Karen Clement. “They kept working on her for 45 minutes. They kept working. It’s a miracle.”

The FDNY has held these celebrations for 19 years — bringing together people who in most cases owe their lives to perfect strangers.

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