June 25th, 2016 was just a normal day for Brian Porter. He was at work sitting at his desk. It was the noon hour. The next thing he realized he was looking up at the paramedics that helped saved his life.
In December of 2015, Morris Palarchio had just finished dinner. He was outside putting up Christmas decorations prior to eating. “He got up, put his plate away and then sat down again. Then he fell to the floor and that was it.” said his wife Louisa.
Both men suffered a cardiac arrest – a sudden stoppage of the heart.
It’s clearly a matter of life and death and every second counts.
In both instances, someone was around to call emergency 9-1-1. Within minutes, paramedics were on scene and revived both men with the use of a defibrillator, then rushed them to the hospital. It’s usually at this time, that’s the last the patient will see the paramedics who just played a very important part in their lives.
That changed on Friday December 16th when both of these men, and Ronald Caron, were able to thank the paramedics that saved their lives face to face.
“Three co-workers performed CPR on me for ten minutes before the paramedics arrived. I was very fortunate that they were there,” Porter said, “basically I was dead for twenty minutes.” Paramedics Mary Casola and Mark Jagt, along with EMS commander Jeff Bowen, arrived using a defibrillator with four separate electrical shocks to re-start Porter’s heart.
“Bystander CPR is so important, anything to keep the blood flowing before we can get there with a defibrillator.” said Dan Langervan Deputy chief EMS.
Porter underwent surgery for a pacemaker and credits his co-workers for keeping him alive and the EMS for bringing him back. “God love ’em”, Porter said.
“We’re here to help people, and it’s not too often we get to see the survivor because we’re often not able to talk to them again after we do our job.”, said Casola who has been a paramedic for 27 years.
“On calls like these, the seconds are important. There’s not a lot going through your mind other than just doing our jobs and going through the steps we learned in our training.”, Robert Larkin primary care paramedic said. “This was the first save I ever had and to see him a year later that’s great!”
Larkin and Jagt arrived on scene to assist Morris Palarchio when he suffered his cardiac arrest. On Friday the two paramedics were thanked by him and his family at the social with plenty of baking made by Louisa and her daughter for the EMS crew.
For Palarchio, he has much more respect and understanding whenever he sees an ambulance today. “I think about what happened to me and I think there they go again to save someone else’s life.”