We are very luck to have EMTs who know what they're doing in our communities. They are always on call to save the lives of citizens, and sometimes it seems like they're more that humans...they're heroes.
What we can often forget, though, is that these men and women are just like the rest of us, and sometimes they find themselves in situations where they're the ones in need of help.
For Aetna Ambulance EMT Chris Cabral, he quickly became the patient after his partner Ray Berwick noticed something was wrong. Cabral was driving the ambulance when Berwick noticed that something about his partner of two and half years was off.
“He looked at me and said ‘What’s wrong with you?'... I had no idea,” Cabral said.
It turns out, Cabral was having a stroke. His face began to droop, which is how Berwick knew something was seriously wrong. Cabral, who has 17 years of EMT experience, had a blood clot near his carotid artery, and thanks to Berwick's diagnosis, he's still alive today. He was rushed to the hospital and operated on immediately, but Cabral knows things could have ended a lot worse.
"If I was home alone I wouldn't have known anything was wrong. That's the crazy part," he said. “I was inches away from dying, and my partner saved my life.”
Cabral admits that surviving that stroke was like winning the lottery. He's got a second chance at life, and the one person he has to thank is his partner. For Berwick, though, he doesn't want the recognition. He's just happy he could help.
“What better place to have a stroke than an ambulance,” Berwick said. “Just seeing him walking around…it’s awesome.”
Beriwck was recognized for his quick thinking in a ceremony at Hartford Hospital, where Cabral is still undergoing physical therapy.
“The role that first responders play is truly, truly lifesaving,” Jeffrey Flaks, the president of Hartford Healthcare, said at the ceremony.
Cabral still has a long way to go before he can ride with Berwick again, but neurologists expect him to make a full recovery.
“It is a true miracle,” Cabral said. “There aren’t words to describe how grateful I am to everybody.”
Cabral is extremely lucky to have such an amazing partner. From the time Berwick noticed the stroke until Cabral was out of surgery, it was a total of 90 minutes. The quick thinking on Berwick's part undoubtedly saved his partner's life.
Knowing the signs of a stroke is important. Use the F.A.S.T. acronym to remind yourself.