By Holly Crocco
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, Carmel may technically be a town, but its community members showed up in force recently to save the life of one of its children.
At about 4:40 p.m. Saturday, May 20, a 9-1-1 call was received reporting an 8-year-old who was not breathing at Eclipse Gymnastics on Route 6 in Mahopac. While emergency responders were on route to the scene, bystanders including Laura Spallina, Judith Schoen, Karen Tubman and Mircea Bors began CPR.
Carmel Police Officer Thomas Eagan was the first to arrive at the scene, and found the youth in cardia arrest. He immediately deployed an electric charge to her heart via an automatic external defibrillator and took over CPR with the assistance of Mahopac Fire Chief Gabriel Rivera, while CPD Sgt. Laura Whitten, Officers Michelle Yeager and Brian Detz, and Det. Daniel Shea assisted.
According to Carmel Police Chief Anthony Hoffman, while the child was receiving chest compressions and artificial resuscitation with a mask, EMTs also provided intravenous medication and intubated her before she was transported by Putnam County ambulance and medics to Westchester Medical Center.
“Thankfully, our 8-year-old is doing well,” he said at the June 14 Carmel Town Board meeting, where the first-responders were recognized. “She’s had surgery and she’s doing well.”
Congressman Michael Lawler also acknowledged the local heroes during a speech on the floor of the State Capitol recently.
“Thanks to the swift response and unwavering commitment of the Carmel Police Department… the 8-year-old’s life was saved,” he said, recognizing not only law enforcement and EMTs, but the bystanders who sprang into action, as well.
“Your immediate actions as Good Samaritans here made a vital difference,” he said. “Your fast thinking set the stage for the rescue efforts… Through your combined efforts, an 8-year-old’s life was saved, a family was spared epic grief, and the community was reminded of the importance of our brave law enforcement officers and first responders,” he said.
State Sen. Pete Harckham attended last week’s Carmel Town Board meeting to also express his gratitude.
“This was a remarkable community event, if you think about it,” he said. “It started with bystanders who were quick into action, a nurse who happened to be there, police who were fist on the scene, fire EMS. This was a remarkable team effort to save the life of a little girl and it really speaks volumes about the character of the Town of Carmel, that so many people at so many levels wanted to get involved.”
Assemblyman Matt Slater said it’s comforting to know the community he lives in will step up when someone is in need.
“I’ve got a 7-year-old at home, and I can’t imagine being in a situation like that,” he said. “But to know that we’ve got people in our community who will have your back, who will be there for your family, who will be there for your kids at a moment’s notice, whether you’re a trained first responder or just a bystander and a Good Samaritan, is truly wonderful.”