In New Hartford: Expressing Heartfelt Thanks

June 24, 2024

Cardiac arrest survivor grateful for on-the-spot medical care


NEW HARTFORD — Sometimes your life can hinge on whether a dog steals your lunch.

That is what happened to Priscilla Jones on June 14 when she made her lunch.

She was briefly distracted from her sandwich only to find her meal had disappeared when she returned.

“I decided not to make another one and went down to the Log House,” said the diminutive woman, a former employee of that restaurant. “I was just sitting on the stool when I fell over.”

Happily for Jones, there were two women only feet away who were trained in CPR. “I was only 12 feet away from her,” said Annette Newman, who immediately sprang into action. She was joined in the revival effort by Lanna Grogan, another bystander, until emergency services could be summoned.

Jones, who had experienced sudden cardiac arrest, was saved by the quick action of bystanders and the almost immediate arrival of EMTs.

Kevin Archer from Pleasant Valley Fire Department was nearby and responded to the Litchfield County Dispatch, as did a six-person crew from the New Hartford station.
Niels Thomsen, Northwest Medic 3 joined the effort.

As a result, Jones sat in the ambulance headquarters Wednesday, surrounded by her rescuers and her family, a grandchild nestled in her lap and another by her knee, as the efficiency and dedication of the team that saved her was recognized with speeches and state citations. Her grateful daughter, Abigail Barbieri, thanked the emergency personnel as well as Newman and Grogan for saving “the backbone of our family.”

It would be noteworthy enough to have one life preserved by a network of trained medical personnel, but only the day before Jones’ emergency, New Hartford Ambulance had received another call for a sudden cardiac arrest. That call, from a neighbor, was taken by Litchfield County Dispatcher Joshua Wendell, who provided the caller with CPR instructions while Supervisor Lauren Heafy dispatched responders.

“That day, our principal ambulance was out on another call,” Nicholas Maltby, chief of New Hartford Ambulance, said. “If the ambulance is out, it can take 16 minutes to get another one rolling, but Ben Marcus and John Ryan from the New Hartford Fire Department were hanging out in the ambulance headquarters with Justin Myers, so they were out of there really quick. It was just one of those days.”

“And we shouldn’t forget the dispatchers,” he continued. “They get us rolling within 15 seconds and coach bystanders in CPR.” Again, the victim was saved by the quick response of everyone involved.

In all 22 persons were involved in the emergency responses.

“We live for these moments,” said Maltby at the awards ceremony, citing the 10 years of hard work that went into creating a response network among various agencies in multiple towns involved in the incidents.

“We have to recognize everyone here who responded to these scenes,” he said. Present at the ceremony were Jones and her family, the bystanders who provided CPR, 911 dispatchers, EMS crews and first responders from New Hartford Ambulance and Pleasant Valley and New Hartford Fire Departments.

Maltby said that less than 10 percent of people suffering out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survive and are discharged from the hospital. Survival depends on immediate bystander CPR, early defibrillation, high-quality CPR, and high-quality medical care after resuscitation — all of which were met during these two calls.

Present to honor the emergency responders were state Rep. Mark Anderson and state Sen. Lisa Seminara.

Seminara said the legislators couldn’t be happier to be there to honor the people who had roles in the events.

“Everyone in the community should be extraordinarily proud,” she said as she and Anderson handed out citations.

“The immediate life saving measures started by bystanders and family members coupled with the highly skilled interventions provided by EMS crews and first responders saved these patient’s lives,” said Maltby. “We are lucky to have members of our community dedicated to helping others.”