May 24, 2017
On Wednesday, May 24th, FDNY hosted its 23rd annual Second Chance Ceremony at the Liberty Warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn during EMS Week 2017.
The Second Chance Ceremony is a special event where patients, who have survived cardiac arrest, reunite with the Paramedics, Emergency Medical Technicians, FDNY EMS Officers, Firefighters, bystanders, and other first responders who helped saved their lives – giving them a second chance at life.
Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro welcomed the 11 patients and highlighted the incredible work of first responders and bystanders who stepped in to help.
“FDNY members are deeply committed to protecting others and saving lives in our city – they train every day to hone their skills because millions of people are counting on them to be there in minutes when tragedy strikes,” said Commissioner Nigro. “Thousands of times each day, and more than 1.7 million times a year, FDNY members respond to calls for help. No matter the call, our members respond quickly with the best training possible and work as a team to provide care, and save that patient’s life.”
One of the patients who reunited with her first responders expressed her deepest gratitude in regards to her son.
“My son still has his mother because of these amazing individuals,” said Andrene Bowes. “I think of them and pray for them every day, and I’m so thankful for what they’ve done for me.”
Ms. Bowes was riding the subway on July 15, 2016 with her young son, Pharaoh, on the way to his summer camp when she collapsed on the train.
Passengers who witnessed her fall called 911 for help, as her son looked on, scared and worried for his mother. Minutes later, Lieutenant Gregory Lynch and Firefighters Steven Sanfillippo, Johnathan Medina, Daniel Adorno, and Ronald Intriago of Engine Company 4 arrived at the Bowling Green Station in Manhattan and identified that Ms. Bowes was not having a seizure, she was actually in cardiac arrest. They quickly initiated CPR.
EMTs Sean Emanuel and Anne Li of Station 4 arrived and shocked Ms. Bowes twice with an automatic external defibrillator. They were soon joined by Paramedics Willie Jones and Steve Lockwood of New York Presbyterian Hospital. Lieutenant Michael DeMarco arrived on scene to supervise the expert medical care she was receiving. As NYPD Police Officers William Maisonet, Steve Parker and Michael Swanson cared for her frightened son, FDNY members worked diligently together to save Ms. Bowes life. Their collective efforts were able to get her heart beating again and transport her to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Cornell for continued treatment.
After meeting Ms. Bowes, EMT Anne Li stated, “It’s always great to see the progress, someone who suffered cardiac arrest, up and walking again,” the four-year EMS veteran said.
Ashley Newman was also one of the 10 patients that attended to meet her first responders for the first time. Ms. Newman was rehearsing for a performance in May 2016 with her dance group, the Chase Brock Experience, when she fell to the ground in front of her fellow dancers.
With Ms. Newman having no pulse and not breathing, her colleagues immediately sprang into action, calling 911 for help. FDNY Assignment Receiving Dispatcher Juan Llano was the first FDNY member to render aid to Ms. Newman, relaying CPR instructions by phone to her friends. They started the bystander CPR that would help save her life.
Minutes later, EMTs Edward Jablonowski and Michael Ginty of Station 4 responded along with Lt. Arnold Galvez and Firefighters Jose Hernandez, Thomas Lopez, William Agosto Jr., and Michael Macaluso of Engine 15. They took over CPR as Paramedics Mingze Wu and Juan Cortes, and Lieutenant Joel Orr, also of Station 4, arrived.
The Paramedics applied a cardiac monitor and administered one shock, which restored her pulse. Next, they administered IV medication, intubated her so she could breathe, and transported her to NY Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital for continued advanced care. 11 days later, Ms. Newman was discharged from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
Though Ms. Newman was not yet well enough to perform, she was able to take an emotional bow on stage with her dance group, including those who helped save her life. The show did go on, and thanks to the outstanding efforts of bystanders and FDNY members, Ms. Newman had a second chance to witness it.
Michael Allen was volunteering at a basketball game in the South Bronx in October 2016 when his body became rigid and he fell out of his chair to the floor in cardiac arrest. Bystanders called 911 and help was on the way.
Minutes later, Paramedics Michael Sclafani and Dylan Vidoli, and Emergency Medical Technicians Jeremy Summerville and Melissa Vaugeois from Station 14 arrived. Simultaneously, Lieutenant Sean Genovese and Firefighters Scott Hickey, Rich D’Agliolo, Bradley Daly, Sean Cearney, and Joseph Napolitano of Squad Company 41 and Lieutenant Pierre Ramos of Station 55 were on scene. Together, this highly-trained team went to work to save Mr. Allen’s life.
EMT Jeremy Summerville of Station 14 reflected on the call for help for Mr. Allen.
“It’s a really great feeling – we are very invested in our patients when we are out there trying to help individuals,” said EMT Summerville. “It is not very often that we know the outcome of jobs that we face – so to get to see them and spend time with them and share a meal it is a very surreal experience.”
After meeting his first responders, Mr. Allen stated: “It’s a situation where it is a bunch of [people] who saved your life – and actually the reason why [I] am here today. When you go through the situation – they are a little bit more than the average person, they are my heroes – I don’t know them but I love them.”
For photos of the ceremony, click here.