EMT dispatcher helps find stroke victim during 8-hour call

Claudine Zap
Claudine Zap
The Upbeat

Talk about above and beyond the call of duty.

A heroic New York City dispatcher spent a marathon eight hours on the phone with a stroke victim as rescuers attempted to locate her.

A story in the New York Post reports that EMT dispatcher Joann Hilman-Payne got a call from an ill Mary Thomas, and rescuers rushed to the woman's residence at East 71st Street. But the stroke victim was not there.

According to a letter of commendation written by EMT Capt. Philip Weiss praising Hilman-Payne, the dispatcher then struggled to communicate with the slurring Thomas to try to determine her location—and keep her conscious.

With the help of Verizon and the NYPD, firefighters checked several nearby addresses, but none proved to be right. Rescuers finally found Thomas at an East 72nd Street residence, where she had been working as a housekeeper.

She was rushed to Lenox Hill Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, according to the Post.

“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,” Weiss wrote.

He added, “I have no doubt that without the efforts of all involved [Thomas’] outcome would not have been positive."