A heroic EMT stayed on the phone with a stroke victim for nearly eight hours last week while FDNY workers tried to locate where she was. According to the Post, EMT Joann Hilman-Payne received a call from Mary Thomas around 1 p.m. Monday; Thomas' speech was badly slurred because of the stroke, so Hilman-Payne stayed on the line with her while rescuers attempted to pinpoint her location.
Rescuers first were dispatched to an East 71st Street address based on a cellphone tower relaying Thomas’ call, but she wasn't there. They tried to find a Manhattan address for Thomas, but it was no help, as she was at work when she became ill. They contacted Verizon Wireless and the NYPD to help trace Thomas’ cellphone.
“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,” wrote Emergency Medical Dispatch Capt. Philip Weiss in a letter asking for recognition for Hilman-Payne and her colleagues. Finally, Verizon helped lead FDNY to an East 72nd Street apartment, where Thomas had been working as a maid.
Thomas was taken to Lennox Hill Hospital, where she is being treated in the ICU. Hilman-Payne “remained on the phone with the patient for almost eight hours being spelled only briefly for reasons of personal necessity,” Weiss wrote. “I have no doubt that without the efforts of all involved [Thomas’] outcome would not have been positive."