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‘A miracle I survived’: Man reunites with FDNY EMS crew who rescued him after massive heart attack

“When you get a call for cardiac arrest, it usually means the patient is dead,” said Kat Woods, a member of the EMS team. “This was a special job, and this is a special family.”


Queens dad Michael Lesner (in white T-shirt), who nearly died of a massive heart attack a week earlier, was reunited Saturday with the crew of EMS workers who saved his life.


Thomas Tracy
New York Daily News

A grateful Queens dad who suffered a massive heart attack was reunited just days later with the quick-thinking crew of EMS “miracle” workers who saved his life.

Michael Lesner, 55, was on his way to work at the Rockaway Blvd. station in on the A line the morning of June 14 when he felt pain in his chest — and called his wife to drive him home. Shortly after arriving there, he collapsed in the family’s bathroom.

What followed was a series of quick decisions by family, neighbors — and the emergency workers who saved him.

“I was gone,” Lesner, an electrician who also serves as an auxiliary NYPD officer, said Sunday as he celebrated Father’s Day with his wife and two sons. “It’s a miracle I survived. Now I feel like nothing ever happened.”

After Lesner collapsed, son Matthew, who turns 21 the day after Father’s Day, called 911 while the family’s landlord, Rosario Lapuma, began CPR. Firefighters responded minutes later — followed by an FDNY EMS crew that quickly restored Lesner’s pulse.

The group was escorted to the hospital by cops from the NYPD’s 106th precinct, where Lesner and Matthew volunteer as auxiliary officers.

Lesner’s heart had three blockages — and doctors removed one of them. He’ll have to undergo another operation in the coming months to clear another artery. But he was back home and feeling well just two days after his heart stopped beating.

The pair of EMS workers who helped save Lesner’s life visited the family’s Ozone Park home on Saturday — astounded at how well he was feeling.

“When you get a call for cardiac arrest, it usually means the patient is dead,” said Kat Woods, a member of the EMS team. “For him to be discharged from the hospital and walking around two days after cardiac arrest, you just don’t see that every day.”

“This was a special job, and this is a special family,” Woods added.

Lesner’s oldest son Tommy, 26, said the savvy emergency crews were the reason he was able to celebrate Father’s Day.

“It’s a gift that I can never re-give my father,” Tommy said. “This is a gift that was given from the paramedics, from the EMTs, from the fire department and NYPD.”

Tommy is a cadet at the NYPD academy, and his girlfriend works as an EMS paramedic out of Brooklyn. He said first responders “don’t always get the recognition they deserve.”

“We all worked together. This was the community looking out for each other,” said Tommy. “Nobody can understand how my dad is up and walking around, back and thank God he is.”

Oren Barzilay, president Local 2507, Uniformed EMT’s, Paramedics & Fire Inspectors, praised the crews in the life-saving effort.

“We are happy to once again see another life saved, you can’t place a value to that,” he said.


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