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Quick response saves life of heart attack victim at Statue of Liberty

National Parks of New York Harbor

National Park News

Each year National Park Service Rangers and U.S. Park Police Officers put in hours and hours of time training, recertifying and practicing skills they hope to never use. On Labor Day afternoon, that training, certification and practice came to the forefront when a visitor on Liberty Island collapsed – the victim of a heart attack.


The patient, a 52 year-old woman visiting the park with her son, daughter-in-law and grandson, was unresponsive when USPP Officer Karl Larsen arrived on the scene. Larsen quickly called for the NPS EMT and did an initial assessment of the patient. EMT Steve Schecter arrived on the scene, realized the victim was in cardiac arrest, and began lifesaving CPR techniques with the assistance of additional first responders from the NPS and the USPP.


Meanwhile, USPP and NPS Rangers cleared a landing zone for the medivac helicopter on the northern side of the Statue of Liberty, a procedure that had been practiced only two months earlier.

The patient was transported to the landing zone as CPR was administered. At the landing zone, a faint pulse was felt and the patient began breathing on her own. She was transferred to the care of the medivac crew when it arrived and was transported to University Hospital in Newark, N.J., where she was in intensive care as of the afternoon of Sept. 7.

 “If it wasn’t for Officer Larsen’s fast response and summoning of EMT Steve Schecter, who utilized his expertise of life saving knowledge, I feel that this woman would have perished,” said Sgt. Robert Kramer, USPP. “EMT Steve Schecter’s command and leadership in designating roles to first responders –USPP Officer Dominic Parlanti and NPS Rangers Bob McHugh, Dave Lawrence, Randall Rishe -- and EMT Jay Saymon, is the sole reason that [the patient’s] life was saved.” 

Superintendent Dave Luchsinger, who assisted with crowd clearing and witnessed the successful resuscitation, said “Our staff showed a coolness and professionalism under a life and death situation, and executed to perfection their skills and abilities.  I couldn’t be more proud of them.”


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