Passerby resuscitates shocked worker

June 16, 2009 6:03:32 PM PDT
Three workers were shocked when their ladder leaned onto power lines in Hackensack, and one was saved by a chiropractor who was at the right place at the right time. The workers were shocked on Kipp Street just after 9 a.m. Tuesday.

They were all thrown to the ground, and one was knocked unconscious. But 28-year-old Keren Day performed CPR to resuscitate 24-year-old Carlos Gamez.

Day was driving to work from her Lodi home when she saw the situation and pulled over.

Helping patients comes naturally to chiropractor Day, but she never expected to be saving a life.

"In my head I was thinking, 'Okay, Keren, you have to stop. It's the right thing to do.' Your instinct takes over," she said.

Relying on that instinct, Day came upon an unbelievable scene outside a Hackensack apartment complex.

Three workers were getting ready to power wash an apartment building. They were maneuvering a ladder, trying to get close to the building, when the ladder accidentally struck overhead power lines. The three men were shocked, and one of them, Carlos Gamez, was knocked out.

"The man that they were shaking was not coherent. His eyes were open, but he was not speaking. He could not breath. Nothing was working," Day said. "I started CPR compression. And the first compression, he let out a gasp, but no response."

Day was recertified for CPR just last week.

"I felt his heart restart under my hands. He just started speaking. He lay there until the ambulance got there. Thank God, he was coherent and awake and fine," Dey said.

The three men suffered burns to their hands and feet when the surge of electricity entered and exited their bodies during its passage to the ground, where it scorched the pavement.

Gamez was hurt the worst, according to Hackensack police spokesman Frank Lomia. He was transported to Hackensack University Medical Center along with co-workers Luis Lopez, 21 of Leonia, and Carlos Chimera, 26, of West New York. All three were in stable condition.

"Thank god she was there," Lomia said. "She saved his life."

Day grew up in Great Neck, Long Island, and is a graduate of Hofstra University and the New York Chiropractic College. Being single, she said she plans to celebrate at home tonight with a glass of wine.

"I'm feeling good," Day said. "I'm in awe. I'm just glad he's OK."


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