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Patient Extends Heartfelt Thank You to Those Who Saved His Life

by Public Relations | Published On: Mar 20, 2013 | Last Updated: 

On Friday, March 15, Paul Mercurio and his family returned to Terminal 4 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport for the opportunity to thank those who changed his life. It was a heartfelt ceremony in which they met with Phoenix Police Officers and Firefighters who assisted in saving his life the week prior. Paul was all smiles and incredibly gracious as he spoke.

“I’ve been through a lot of things, but this is one of the worst times I’ve ever had,” he said. “I was glad to know we had such capable people on-hand to take care of me.”

His daughter, Mary Emanuele, echoed the sentiment, explaining that she was so happy her father was still alive thanks to the life-saving efforts of Police and Fire. It was a touching thank you as she recounted her father saying that he heard Police Officers say, “Stay with us Paul.”

The lifesaving efforts were the direct result of quick thinking by Phoenix Police Officers. On March 6, Paul and his family arrived in Phoenix from Pittsburgh to attend his grandson’s wedding. After arriving in Terminal 4, he began to have difficulty breathing. Two Police Officers noticed the man in distress. Sergeant Robert Griffin called Phoenix Fire while Officer Forrest Conner retrieved an AED. The officers administered a shock with the AED before Officer Paul Rooks, who was also on-site, began giving CPR. Phoenix Fire Station 19 arrived to stabilize Mercurio for transport.

Captain Brian Mengis of Phoenix Fire said it was the quick efforts of Police as well as the Fire crew who stabilized Mr. Mercurio that saved his life.

“I was glad they were all there to work with me and bring me back to life,” Mercurio said.

Mercurio, didn’t make it to his grandson’s wedding, but his grandson A.J. and about to be bride Rachel came to visit him in the hospital before the wedding ceremony. Hospital staff even decorated for the occasion. Mercurio was able to toast their happiness and the family was incredibly grateful for the St. Luke’s Hospital staff.

And, on Friday, Mercurio stood before local news media, Airport staff and Police and Fire at Terminal 4, to recognize the efforts of those who saved his life. Incredibly happy to be able to personally shake the hands and meet his rescuers, Paul and his family were all thank you’s. It was a day that no one will soon forget.

Dr. John Gallagher from Phoenix Fire was also on-hand to show how Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) work and can save lives. This is Sky Harbor’s 34th save using an AED. Sky Harbor regularly trains employees and volunteers to administer CPR and correctly use AEDs in the event of an emergency. CPR Training is taught by Phoenix Fire Paramedics. More than 2,000 Airport employees and volunteer Navigators have been trained. There are more than 85 AEDs available at Phoenix Sky Harbor, Phoenix Deer Valley and Phoenix Goodyear airports. There will be AEDs in the PHX Sky Train™ stations as well.

Visit our Facebook page to see more pictures from this event.

Above and to the right, see a video from the event.

Updated: March 20, 2013