- Associated Press - Sunday, January 29, 2017

VALLEY VIEW, Pa. (AP) - Bill Malloy said he owes “everything” to those who brought him back from the brink of death.

Malloy and his family reunited earlier this month with emergency personnel and students working toward their EMT certification at the Hegins Area Ambulance Association building. He doesn’t remember much about Jan. 3 when he fell ill shortly after 9:30 p.m. Doctors told him he suffered a cardiac event known as the “widow maker,” a heart attack that was caused by a blockage in his left anterior descending artery.

“All I remember was that I had indigestion. The next thing I knew, it was Thursday or Friday,” Malloy, 64, said. “I got lucky.”

It was the availability of a well-trained medical team and a series of fortunate events that fell into place at the right time that enabled Malloy to be resuscitated, his wife, Ann Kreitz, believes. They live just a few blocks from the ambulance building in Valley View and students were in EMT class at the time of Malloy’s medical emergency. State-certified Emergency Medical Responder and Emergency Medical Technician courses are being offered at the Valley View site through a partnership between Hegins Area EMS and SafeTec Training Services.

“Thank you so much. I was glad you were so calming,” Kreitz said as she hugged Steve Oravitz, Frackville, a 911 telecommunicator, who first took the call from the Schuylkill County Communications Center.

“I directed her to start CPR because I heard him breathing ineffectively,” Oravitz said. “We did three rounds, and they (EMTs) were there within a few minutes. She did very well, following my instructions to a ‘T.’ “

Kreitz on Thursday recalled the harrowing moment when her husband lost consciousness.

“We had stromboli for dinner and he likes mushrooms and peppers. I noticed he kept burping. He said he didn’t feel good, and I thought he just had the flu or indigestion,” she said. “He took three Tums and it didn’t get any better. Then he went to the bathroom. I thought he looked funny and then his eyes rolled back in his head. I got him out of the chair and laid him flat on the floor. He never had any pain in his arm, chest or jaw. He just felt sweaty and nauseous.”

She added, “He never gets sick.”

Kreitz learned later from doctors that 99 percent of patients with this same cardiac event don’t get to the hospital in time.

Hegins EMS volunteers and EMT students lined up to welcome the Valley View couple and their family, greeting them at the door.

“It’s weird because you don’t know these people, but you love them,” Kreitz said, sharing hugs with several HAAA volunteers that were there to respond in her husband’s darkest hour.

Ricky Ney Jr., EMT instructor with SafeTec, and Brian Musolino, training coordinator for the EMT/EMR program, were teaching the class that evening and got called to action.

As the certified responders worked on her husband, Kreitz said one EMT student, Tyler Perry, offered her appreciated guidance that night because she “was in pretty bad shape.”

“I just tried my best to calm her down,” Perry, 19, of Pottsville, said.

“I don’t think anyone could have taught him to be as kind as he was,” Kreitz said.

Another EMT student, Brock Deibert, was an ambulance driver on the call for Malloy. Deibert, Hegins, is already an emergency medical responder. He was returning from another call and was on the way back to the area from Hershey when the request came in to respond for Malloy.

Christina Karinch, Pottsville, was one of the first students to Malloy’s home.

Bill was on the floor upstairs, so I took Ann downstairs. I ended up doing her first vitals and got information about Bill’s medication and about her medication,” she said.

Karinch said one of her best friends, who has since passed away, was an EMT and her grandfather wanted her to go into the medical field, and that’s what prompted her to take the EMT classes. She’s also going to study nursing at HACC, Harrisburg, this fall, she said.

EMT student Kaitlyn Trent also tended to Kreitz.

“I took Ann’s second vitals to see if they were getting better or worse. You need to make sure they’re getting better. We didn’t want anything happening to her, too,” Trent, Mount Carmel, said.

She said she serves as a junior firefighter with the Clover Hose Company and her mother is a nurse, so that’s what drew her interest in becoming an EMT.

“I like to help people,” Trent said.

The EMT students, who began their training in September 2016, were slated to take their exams over the weekend. Musolino said 98 percent of the EMTs who serve Hegins EMS are volunteers.

Malloy has had a crew of well-wishers following his recovery. Ney has stopped by the house to check on him and Musolino has called almost every day, Kreitz said.

After having a stent inserted at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, Malloy has begun his recovery and has been cleared to return to his part-time job at Redner’s Warehouse Markets, Hegins.

“That night, everything went perfectly,” Oravitz, who attended the “reunion” with his wife, Rachael, said. “That’s how the system’s designed to work. You’re constantly wondering about the outcome. It’s truly a blessing when you can see it come full circle.”

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Online:

http://bit.ly/2j2mk9C

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Information from: Pottsville Republican and Herald, http://www.republicanherald.com

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