Tonawanda cardiac arrest survivor meets paramedic who saved his life

This would not have been possible without medical equipment that few agencies have.

TONAWANDA, NY – A Tonawanda man meets the paramedic who saved his life. This would not have been possible without medical equipment that few agencies have.

The first time Jay Napieralski and Kerry Riley met was seven years ago during an emergency.

“My wife woke up in the middle of the night to find me unresponsive and called 911,” Riley said.

Riley was having a heart attack.

“Tonawanda City paramedics came to the house and resuscitated me,” Riley said.

“We shocked him. I think seven to eight times. Before we got traffic back,” Napieralski said. “There are calls that stay very vivid in your memory and this is one of them.”

Tonawanda City paramedics were among the first in the area to procure specialized equipment called Zoll X custom cabinets. Their agency now has six.

All monitors were donated by the James V and Fay P Ryan Paramedic Foundation, a group started by local paramedics that focuses on getting back to first responders.

This equipment gave Riley another chance.

“Every time I see them I choke. I wouldn’t be here without them,” Riley said.

The foundation also donated a new car and four cyanide antidote kits that few agencies have due to cost.

This equipment saved Riley’s life, but it also saved his twin brother in a way. After his heart attack, his brother discovered through testing that Riley’s health issues were genetic.

The photo above shows Riley’s twin brother on the left and Riley on the right. They are both holding each other’s children.

To find out more about the foundation, you can go to the James V and Fay P Ryan Paramedic Foundation website.

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