Governor on Vineyard Saturday to honor first responders


On Saturday in the lobby of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, Governor Deval Patrick and the Tisbury Volunteer Ambulance Association honored members of the Island EMT (Emergency Medical Technicians) service, county dispatchers, hospital staff, and police officials who helped save the lives of two people in Tisbury during a medical emergency.

Jeff Pratt, Tisbury Ambulance Coordinator, and representatives from the American Heart Association presented “Save” pins and Heartsaver Certificates to more than 30 individuals who were part of the life-saving teams.

One of those saved attended the ceremony with his family to thank all those who worked so hard to save his life and his lifestyle.

Tony Esposito was riding a bicycle on State Road when he suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed onto the road. Paramedic Chuck Cummens, of Edgartown, happened to be going by and stopped to help. In response to a 911 call, EMT Jennifer Gardner joined Mr. Cummens.

En route to the hospital Mr. Esposito was treated with an electrical shock that successfully began his heart pumping. He was transported to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital where he was stabilized and evacuated to Rhode Island Hospital. Mr. Esposito made a full recovery.

According to Mr. Pratt, there are two levels of Emergency Medical Technicians: intermediate and paramedic. The difference is in the degree of training and protocols allowed.

All levels are authorized to administer shock via a defibrillator, as is the general public. There are automated defibrillators located in many public places on the Vineyard including senior centers, the Steamship Authority, health clubs, and others.

The American Heart Association says the key to survival of sudden cardiac death is early intervention that includes calling 911, effective CPR, defibrillation, and advanced life support.

EMT services are provided 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The towns of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Tisbury each have their own trained responders.

Aquinnah, Chilmark, and West Tisbury are covered by the Tri-Town ambulance group. Although there are a core group of full-time employed EMT’s, most are volunteers who take an extensive training course that covers EMT basic education, a four-month course offered annually on Martha’s Vineyard.

The responders honored Saturday included: Emergency Medical Service members Chris Cini, Chuck Cummens, Jennifer Gardner, Enrico Holly, Tracey Jones, Melinda Loberg, Bob Merritt, Jeff Pratt, John Rose, John Shannon, Eamon Solway, Tony White, Zeke Wilkins; Dispatchers Bobby Brown, Maria Williams; Martha’s Vineyard Hospital Emergency Department Dr. Cathy Beland, Sue Bettencourt, R.N., Martha Bishoff, Helen Green, R.N., Maureen Robertson, Rick Call, Rich Huffam, R.N., Betsy Vanlandingham, R.N., Cindy Taylor, Lauren Frazao; and Tisbury Police Department police chief Dan Hanavan, sergeant Rodney Silvia, sergeant Tim Stobie.

Polly Brown is a member of the Tisbury EMTs.