More than a month after she suffered a heart attack, an East Patchogue woman was wheeled out of the hospital Friday and hugged the Suffolk County police officer whose special medical training might have saved her life.
“It’s a miracle — definitely, definitely a miracle that he just appeared,” Kathleen Manganello, 72, said from her wheelchair after a long hug with Officer Arnold Reyes.
The reunion, Manganello’s first sight of Reyes, was in the lobby of Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue.
It was a 911 call from Manganello’s husband, Andrew, 73, that brought Reyes to their home on Rosalie Place about 3 a.m. on Dec. 19.
While Manganello was getting CPR from the North Patchogue Fire Department workers, Reyes was trying to find a vein to administer a dose of epinephrine to stimulate her heart, he said.
Unable to find a vein — a common difficulty with heart attack patients — Reyes said he used a special needle to give her an injection through a bone and into the marrow.
Dr. Scott Coyne, chief surgeon of the Suffolk County Police Department, said such intraosseous injections provide medications throughout the body just as quickly as a traditional IV injection that goes into a vein.
“In this case he did a skilled job and got right into the tibia and delivered several doses of epinephrine while CPR continued and the pulse came back,” Coyne said.
Reyes, who told everyone to call him Arnie, said it was collaborative effort from responding firefighters and ambulance workers, not just his training, that revived the woman.
Andrew Manganello said the 911 operator had told him to lay his wife on the floor and give her chest compressions. “I did that — from watching a lot of TV,” he said.
Reyes, a 15-year veteran assigned to the Fifth Precinct, is one of 25 officers assigned to the Medical Crisis Action Team of the Suffolk County Police Department.
All Suffolk officers are certified Emergency Medical Technicians, but the officers on MedCAT are trained to a higher level and certified as paramedics.
He was about 10 miles away when he heard over the radio that CPR was in progress. “I hit the gas pedal,” he said.
About 15 minutes elapsed between the time he made the 911 call and his wife’s pulse came back, Andrew Manganello said.
As a news conference in the lobby broke up and his wife got ready to head home, he turned back to a group of hospital workers.
“I don’t know how to thank you,” he said, tears streaming down his face as he hugged Keisha Ann Wisdom, the hospital’s chief nursing officer.