Man's Life Saved Thanks to Residents, Police Officer
Kinnelon Council will honor individuals for helping an elderly man during an apparent heart attack.
Jim Scarfone and his son, Sam, thought they were headed out for a quick stop at the Hallmark store on the morning of July 29. Little did Scarfone know, he would help save a life that day.
Scarfone, Thomas Reimer, both Kinnelon residents, and Kinnelon police Ptl. Nicholas Cifelli will be honored Thursday for assisting with the medical emergency of an elderly man who may have had a heart attack, according to Kinnelon police Lt. John Schwartz. The gentlemen will be recognized at the Kinnelon Council meeting.
Shortly after Scarfone stepped out of his car that summer day, he said he noticed a vehicle pull into the Meadtown Shopping Center parking lot with a female driver in a frantic state.
"A guy ran over to the car, so I ran over there too," Scarfone said. "She was screaming, she was very upset."
According to Kinnelon police Lt. John Schwartz, the woman was upset because her relative, a 67-year-old man from West Milford, was possibly suffering from a heart attack. Schwartz said the man and his family members were hiking at Silas Condict Park when he started not feeling well and his family made the decision to take him to the hospital.
But the woman stopped the car in the Meadtown parking lot when the man appeared to have trouble breathing. She called police, but in the meantime, Scarfone and Reimer assisted by providing CPR, Schwartz said.
"The gentleman was very lucky," Schwartz said. "He had two individuals that knew CPR in the area."
Scarfone said he and Reimer grabbed the man by the shoulders and pulled him from the car.
"I lifted his head and opened up his airways," he said.
It had been a few years since Scarfone studied CPR, but he remembered a few of the basic tasks from his training in the past.
"I wouldn't say that I'm trained expert in it," he said. "I knew enough to kind of keep his airways open."
While they waited for medical assistance, both men did what they could to keep the man breathing.
"Somebody did call 911 but they didn't get there right away," Scarfone said. "In the meantime, we just tried to kind of keep him breathing and keep air going into his lungs, so that's what we did."
Schwartz said the ambulance arrived on the scene, but because of staffing issues, there would not have been enough paramedics to have more than one person stay with the patient in addition to driving the ambulance. At that point, Schwartz said, Cifelli got in the driver's seat and drove the ambulance to Chilton Hospital.
While a police officer driving an ambulance does not happen often, Schwartz said it has happened on occasion. Now, Schwartz said, the man has been released from the hospital and is doing well at home.
The meeting in which the men will be honored will be held at 8 p.m. at the Kinnelon Municipal Building on Kinnelon Road.