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FDNY Dispatcher Stays on Phone Eight Hours with Stroke Victim

NEW YORK - A New York dispatcher stayed on the phone for eight hours with a stroke victim as emergency crews tried to pinpoint the woman's location.

Fire Department of New York EMT Joann Hilman-Payne took the call from the elderly stroke victim, whose name was not reported, at about 1 p.m. Monday, the New York Post reported Sunday.

Hilman-Payne stayed on the line with the woman, whose speech was badly slurred, as rescue workers tried to track down her location. The East 71st Street address they first went to based on cell tower information was incorrect.

Rescue officials worked for eight hours trying to find the woman's location, which led them to several Manhattan addresses, the Post reported.

"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," said Emergency Medical Dispatch Capt. Philip Weiss, who wrote a letter to FDNY asking for Hilman-Payne and her colleagues to be recognized for their efforts.

EMTs finally located the victim at an East 72nd Street apartment where a doorman there said the woman was working as a maid when she became ill, the Post said.

The victim was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital where she was in the intensive care unit.

"I have no doubt that without the efforts of all involved [Thomas'] outcome would not have been positive," Weiss said.


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