CHARLESTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Two off-duty NYPD officers who just happened to be in the right place at the right time are being heralded as heroes.
They jumped into action and performed CPR, saving a man from the brink of death.
As CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon reports, there was an emotional reunion Tuesday. Salvatore Sgroi, 52, came face to face with the police officers who saved his life.
“Much appreciated, from the bottom of my heart,” Sgroi said.
On Jan. 30, Sgroi was mid-shift at work at a Home Depot on Staten Island. He was in the parking lot when he collapsed.
That’s when two NYPD officers, Detective Dominick Ciaravino and Officer Jason Milman, came across his lifeless body.
“He looked at me, I looked at him, and we said, ‘Let’s go.’ And I just started working, doing compressions,” Ciaravino said.
The off-duty cops performed CPR for about 7-10 minutes. EMS then rushed Sgroi to the hospital.
Sgroi suffered what’s commonly known as a “widowmaker” heart attack. His doctor says CPR saved his life.
“Without CPR, there’s not enough oxygen to his brain to maintain that for him to wake up after we fix him,” said Director of Cardiac Intervention with Staten Island University Hospital Dr. Frank Tamburrino.
Tamburrino says the officer’s actions were especially heroic because many people are hesitant right now to approach someone they don’t know.
“It’s so paramount to really think about the fact that during COVID, these men went down and did CPR,” Tamburrino said.
He adds more public awareness on CPR is needed. He says the American Heart Association no longer requires mouth-to-mouth resuscitation during CPR – just chest compressions.
As for Sgroi, the father of three spent about a week in the hospital but is now recovering well.
His wife says the family is forever grateful to the officers.
“Very many words because I don’t think ‘thank you’ is going to ever enough,” Kim Sgroi said.
The officers say seeing Sgroi with his family is thanks enough. They’re just glad their training came in handy.
“I teared up. We’re happy that he’s with his family,” Millman said.
“It’s truly nice to know that you saved a life,” Ciaravino said.
They add CPR saves lives and encourage anyone who doesn’t know it to learn.
CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.