Man honors Maimonides doctor for life-saving CPR

People gathered at Maimonides Medical Center for award ceremony.
Maimonides doctor thanked for saving volunteer EMT’s life with CPR.
Courtesy of Maimonides Medical Center

Three months ago, David Spitzer collapsed outside of his home on 47th Street after his heart stopped beating — but survived thanks to the life-saving work of a quick-thinking doctor from Maimonides Medical Center.

Spitzer, an electrician and Hatzalah volunteer EMT, had been returning home on March 1 after evening worship when he collapsed. Nearby, Dr. Alexandra Dadrat, a resident OB-GYN physician at Maimonides, had been getting ready to leave her 10th Avenue office. 

After witnessing Spitzer collapse, a bystander rushed in to alert Dadrat, who snapped into action, performing CPR on the impaired patient as he stopped breathing and had no discernible pulse. 

With every second being the potential difference between life and death, Dadrat worked to aid Spitzer as a bystander called for EMS help. 

Hatzolah paramedics, Nachman Feig and Motty Flesicher, arrived less than 2 minutes later. 

As the medical professionals worked to transport Spitzer to Maimonides Emergency Department, the crew leaned on an automated external defibrillator (AED) — shocking his heart three times, and helping his vital organ return to a healthy rhythm. 

Once in care at the Emergency Department, the team of emergency and cardiovascular physicians at the Maimonides Heart and Vascular Institute worked tirelessly to aid him. 

Ultimately, the fast-acting professionals, from Dadrat and the EMS workers to the staff of the largest hospital in Brooklyn, saved his life. 

“I am indebted to Dr. Dadrat for saving my life, obviously, but so much more for not ignoring a stranger on the street who needed help,” said Spitzer during a ceremony Friday, where he presented Maimonides with a plaque to commemorate his life-saving experience. “I am also grateful for the care of my fellow Hatzolah members and the doctors at Maimonides.”

The ceremony coincided with National CPR and AED Awareness Week and emphasized how both medical techniques were instrumental in saving Spitzer’s life. 

“This entire experience reflects the significance of a community that cares for one another,” said Ken Gibbs, President, and CEO of Maimonides Health. “From the quick thinking of Dr. Dadrat to the skill of Hatzalah’s EMTs and Paramedics, and their transfer of Mr. Spitzer to the care of our Maimonides emergency medicine and cardiovascular experts, this was a wonderful example of collaboration that literally saves lives”

Maimonides Medical Center treats more patients with heart attacks than any other New York City hospital and is one of the nation’s top-ranked hospitals for cardiovascular care.

From this experience successfully saving Spitzer’s life as well as the countless other heart patients Maimonides treats annually, Maimonides and Hatzalah announced plans to collaborate on raising patient awareness as well as offer educational programs to emphasize just how integral CPR is in saving lives.

“We at Hatzalah are grateful to collaborate with Maimonides to broaden CPR education in the community,” says Rabbi Yehiel M. Kalish, CEO of Chevra Hatzalah Volunteer Ambulance Service. “A basic knowledge of CPR, when utilized properly, can significantly increase the chance of survival of an at-home cardiac arrest patient. Hatzalah members utilize both CPR and advanced EMT training on every one of our cardiac calls. We are grateful to Maimonides for taking the lead in this educational effort to help save more lives.”

To learn more about Maimonides Medical Center visit their website at maimo.org. To learn more about the Hatzalah Volunteer Ambulance service visit their website at hatzalah.org.