FDNY dispatcher stays on phone with stroke victim for 8 hours

Credit: Metro File Photo
The EMT has been nominated for a special commendation for her efforts. Credit: Metro file photo

A 911 dispatcher reportedly stayed on the phone with a stroke victim for almost eight hours while rescue workers scrambled to locate the victim, the New York Post reported.

Emergency Medical Dispatch Capt. Philip Weiss reportedly wrote a letter to the FDNY asking that the dispatcher, EMT Joann Hilman-Payne, and her colleagues be recognized for having gone above and beyond in rescuing Mary Thomas.

“Throughout the entirety, [Hilman-Payne] worked to keep the patient awake, she never lost her own composure and remained calm while attempting to elicit more information from the patient,” Weiss wrote.

Thomas was reportedly working as a housekeeper at the apartment where she had a stroke, which is part of what made locating her so difficult.

Hilman-Payne reportedly stayed on the phone with her to keep her awake, though she was unable to understand much of what Thomas was saying, as her speech was badly slurred.

Efforts were made by the FDNY, the NYPD and Verizon to trace Thomas’ cell phone, but success only came around 8:30 p.m. when Verizon was able to successfully pinpoint Thomas’ cell signal at an East 72nd Street apartment.

Thomas was rushed to Lenox Hill Hospital, and is reportedly being treated in the Intensive Care Unit.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


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