Wayne First Aid Celebrates a CPR Save with the Patient


Dec. 14, 2014 was supposed to be a typical Sunday for a group of men who would play some basketball at the DePaul Catholic High School gymnasium.

Meeting up to play hoops was a way to enjoy camaraderie, as well as stay in shape. But on that day, one man’s affliction became a life-saving procedure for his buddies.

While playing basketball, West Caldwell resident Joe Wzorek became ill, and it was evident to his friends that the 67-year-old man was in serious trouble.

Without hesitation, four teammates went into action, diagnosing quickly that Wzorek was indeed in cardiac arrest, and had stopped breathing. A call to 9-1-1 would dispatch the Wayne police and local first aid responders within a matter of minutes.

But what would make this a happy story was the work done by those four friends. With a defibrillator on the DePaul premises and valuable CPR knowledge among the four, important minutes were used correctly in restoring Wzorek’s pulse. There was seemingly no panic, rather, instincts that kicked in which saved a friend’s life.

Last Thursday a reunion, or even more appropriately, a celebration of sorts was held at the Wayne First Aid Squad’s headquarters, as the aforementioned four men, Paul Metrione, L. Jerome Miller, Kevin Caufield and Carl Keiser, all of whom had training in CPR, were honored for their heroic actions, and Wzorek was there, as well, in a touching tribute.

“I don’t think people realize the importance of the seconds and minutes after someone goes into cardiac arrest,” said Robert Coe, president of the Wayne First Aid Squad. “The survival rate when CPR is administered increases by 31 percent. There are so many instances when a person doesn’t survive because of lack of CPR, or a defibrillator close by.”

In front of an appreciative crowd of first responders, as well as the paramedics who arrived that December afternoon, Laurie Martinka and Christopher Grace from Atlantic Ambulance, along with family and friends, certificates were presented to Metrione, Miller, Caufield, a retired firefighter, and Keiser.

Jokingly, the squad staff would remind Wzorek that he deserved to be presented a memento of the night, in his case, a hat which read “Heart Attack, but I’m Back,” which drew a thunderous applause.

Miller, an East Orange resident who works as a nurse’s assistant, was first on the scene after Wzorek became ill.

“We play in a men’s league every Sunday at DePaul,” he recalled. “On that day, Joe had fallen and hit his head on the court. I started performing CPR and Carl (Keiser) went to get the defibrillator. All four of us had background in CPR, and that was helpful.”

The swift action by all involved was certainly noteworthy. The call to 9-1-1 was made at 3:38 p.m. Dispatch was alerted that CPR was being administered. Wayne Police Officers Corey Stevens, Gregory Halligan and Anthony Bailey were on the scene within three minutes, and the First Aid Squad arrived in five minutes. Members of the squad recognized at last week’s event included Joslyn Joseph, David Bishop, Michael Carrafiello, William Kress, Paul Vanderwal, Christopher Radcliffe and Robert LaMin.

When the squad had arrived, the defibrillator was attached to the victim, with two shocks already administered. The squad took over CPR and by the time the Wzorek was placed in the ambulance, he was breathing on his own. Within seven minutes of the first aid squad’s arrival, the paramedics were on site as well. Wzorek would be taken to Chilton Memorial Hospital.

With a big smile on his face last week, Wzorek seemed very comfortable in looking back at Dec. 14, 2014.

“I can’t begin to say thank you,” said Wzorek, who was joined by his wife of 42 years, Arlene. “It’s hard to express my appreciation enough for what they did.”

Wzorek’s condition would require a triple bypass last December at Morristown Medical Center. Fortunately, there was no permanent damage to the heart, and how, he’s chomping at the bit to get back on the basketball court.

“I don’t about that,” said Arlene, with a nervous laugh. “He’s feeling great, and our family will be eternally grateful for that, but I’m not sure I want him back on the court.”

Joe has been involved in sports, however.

“I’m playing softball and golf,” he said. “Arlene is OK with that, so I’ll defer to her, for now. She’s the boss.”

While everyone came away with a little more knowledge of the importance of CPR and a defibrillator on premises at every public venue, Christopher Grace, one of the paramedics at DePaul last December, admitted had it not been for early intervention, the story may not have ended so well.

“Honestly, I’m not sure we’d be here enjoying this night, had it not been for those four guys,” said Grace. “Those are such valuable minutes after a heart attack in providing care. Sometimes people are afraid they’re not administering CPR correctly, or that they can break a victim’s rib. Any type of compressions are so important because it helps the oxygen flow. It’s so vital. The four men who performed CPR and knew to apply the defibrillator really saved (Joe’s) life.”

“Honestly, I’m not sure we’d be here enjoying this night, had it not been for those four guys,” said Grace. “Those are such valuable minutes after a heart attack in providing care. Sometimes people are afraid they’re not administering CPR correctly, or that they can break a victim’s rib. Any type of compressions are so important because it helps the oxygen flow. It’s so vital. The four men who performed CPR and knew to apply the defibrillator really saved (Joe’s) life.”

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Wayne First Aid response to overturned Bus on Rt 80 -23 Injured

This morning (Oct 6th 2012) at 7:30 am, a large tour bus from Canada overturned on Route 80 in Wayne.  Twenty three injured were taken to local hospitals. Three remain in critical condition. The Wayne First Aid wants to commend our  fire companies for an outstanding  job in working along side the first aid squad to treat the injured.

The Wayne First Aid Squad responed with five (5) ambulances along with Heavy Rescue 976 and unit 987 ( Ambulance Bus ) . There were a total of 23 people transported and 28 RMA’s .  We also had 9 towns send rig to the scene to help transport.

Associated Press – Wayne First Aid Member Takes Care of Child at Bus Accident

 


Charter Bus From Canada Overturns

 

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Planning Toward Our Future

In order to provide quality care to Wayne Township, we must expand and grow… But We Need Your Help!

Through increased call volume and the complexity of life saving equipment, the needs of the community have reached a critical point, where our current facility can no longer meet the demands of the operation.