Subway Worker Saves Colleague’s Life Using Rhythm Of ‘Stayin’ Alive’ For CPR

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Queens man without any CPR training is credited with saving a mother’s life, thanks to the beat of a disco song.

As CBS2’s Emily Smith reported, the 1977 movie “Saturday Night Fever” and the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” triggers memories from nearly four decades ago for most people.

But for David Martinez, hearing the song recently saved a mother’s life when he used it to perform CPR.

The move saved Monique Brathwaite, 35 – a mother of two – whom he works with under the streets in the New York City subway system.

Monique Brathwaite

Monique Brathwaite was saved by a co-worker who used the rhythm of the song “Stayin’ Alive” to perform CPR. (Credit: Monique Brathwaite)

Martinez recently read an article in the Washington Post explaining a “hands only” way of doing CPR that rushes blood to the brain. The article said it works best when done to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive,” according to the American Heart Association.

“When, I started, I just remind myself – I say, it’s, ‘Ah, ah… ah, ah, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive,’” Martinez said.

It all happened in Harlem Friday morning, in the tunnel near the subway station at 145th Street and Broadway.

Somehow while working, Brathwaite fell onto the electrified third rail, which powers the No. 1 Train. Nitai Nath, also working on the same repair, called it a miracle that Brathwaite survived.

“We cannot imagine still now that somebody can survive that situation,” Nath said.

“She called me in the morning, ‘You saved my life,’” Martinez said. “”No problem — you are part of my family. I see her more than my own children!”

When asked if he feels like a hero, Martinez paused to say he cannot get the song out of his head – -and he feels really good.

Brathwaite remained hospitalized as of Tuesday. Martinez plans to visit her regularly until she makes a full recovery.


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