NJ man reunites with Four Seasons staff, first responders who saved his life in DC

Gary Pomerantz (top right of TV screen) of New Jersey reunites with the staff of a DC’s Four Seasons hotel and first responders who saved his life last month after he went into cardiac arrest in his hotel room. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

A New Jersey man had a chance to thank the people in D.C. who saved his life last month.

It was the morning of May 15 when Gary Pomerantz collapsed in his hotel room at the Four Seasons hotel in Georgetown after he went into cardiac arrest.

Hotel security officer Harlan Petrowski was the first to answer the screams for help coming from Pomerantz’s wife.

“It was a scream I’ve never heard before,” Petrowski said.

Once in the room, Petrowski found Pomerantz on his back, on the ground. The guest was purple and had no pulse, he said. Petrowski said he attached an AED to Pomerantz, then he and another employee took turns in between shocks, doing chest compressions until paramedics arrived.

Emma Campbell was one of the first paramedics on the scene; she said a machine that does chest compressions was put on Pomerantz, and he was shocked again.

It wasn’t until a medication used in these situation was given to Pomerantz that he started to showed signs of life.

“I see him take a breath, and I was like ‘Let’s check his vital signs because he’s breathing,’” Campbell said.

Pomerantz survived, and is recovering from five broken ribs from the chest compressions. He said he doesn’t remember what happened and only knows the story from what he has been told by his family who was at the hotel that day.

On Friday, Pomerantz was virtually reunited with the hotel staff and first responders who helped save his life.

“There’s no words to express how grateful I am,” Pomerantz said. “Literally my life was in your hands, and you guys and ladies did an incredible job.”

Pomerantz’s family also joined the gathering to thank those who saved their father’s life.

“To be able to have our dad back is amazing! So, thank you, thank you very much,” Pomerantz’s daughter, Robin Greene, said.

D.C. Fire and EMS awarded all those who helped Pomerantz with cardiac arrest challenge coins that are given to individuals and first responders who help someone who has gone into cardiac arrest. The coins read “Cardiac Arrest Save.”

Cookies decorated to look like the cardiac arrest challenge coins were given by DC Fire and EMS to those who helped save Gary Pomerantz’s life. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

“It’s a rewarding feeling to know that you saved a life,” Campbell with D.C. Fire’s Medic 5 team said.

Petrowski said it’s a great feeling seeing Pomerantz on the mend.

“To see him now with his family, it’s awesome,” Petrowski said.

The hotel security officer also said that event made him realize he needs to appreciate each day even more.

“I saved that guy’s life, but that guy changed my life,” Petrowski said.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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