Two officers with the Port Authority Police Department are being credited with saving the life of a woman who suffered a brain aneurysm last month at Newark Liberty International Airport.
On Jan. 16, an employee at Terminal C noticed a woman suffering a “medical episode” and called police, according to a press release issued by the PAPD.
Officers Mark Burkhardt and Jason Nielsen were the first to arrive and thought the woman, later identified as Lisa Kirby of Indiana, was having a stroke or seizure because she was shaking violently, the left side of her face was drooping and she could not speak.
The officers monitored her vitals and communicated with her to help the woman with her breathing as they waited for paramedics to arrive, police said.
Kirby was taken to University Hospital for evaluation.
The officers didn’t know the severity of her case until her husband, Michael, reached out to the department recently to thank the officers. He reported that his wife had suffered a brain aneurism and that a paramedic indicated she had a 20% chance of surviving.
She underwent surgery, was in the ICU for more than three weeks and is expected to make a full recovery.
The Kirbys had arrived at the airport from Indiana and were waiting for their connecting flight to Aruba when the woman fell ill.
“Everything was in place that day to save Lisa’s life,” her husband said. “If there was one missing link, my wife wouldn’t have been here today.”
She’ll be released from the hospital Saturday and Michael Kirby has asked to meet everyone who saved his wife’s life before they fly back home to Indiana on Sunday.
“Our primary goal is to save lives,” Nielsen said in a statement. “This is an example of what police officers do on a daily basis at the Port Authority. Everyone came together and did their part that morning.”
“It’s very rewarding knowing I contributed,” Burkhardt added. “As a police officer, I always want to help save lives and I did what any other officer would have done in my position. We all worked together to save her life.”
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