2 NYPD officers save French tourist's life after he collapsed in Chelsea

CHELSEA, Manhattan (WABC) -- Two NYPD police officers, one of them a trained EMT, saved the life of a French tourist who collapsed in Manhattan.

It happened Saturday afternoon on East 28th Street in Chelsea.

Axel Farhi was released from the hospital Thursday, and on Friday, he returned so he could thank the doctors and police officers who saved him.

Farhi was in town with his wife to visit their children when he say his knees buckled and he suddenly collapsed.

Officer Lily Graham, 24, and her 25-year-old partner, Officer Eddie Griffin, happened to be on call in the area and heard the screaming.

"I saw Axel laying on his back, his family surrounding him, everybody upset," Griffin said.

Their instincts saved his live.

Graham, on the force for nearly three years, used to be a volunteer EMT and started performing chest compressions on 63-year-old Farhi. She didn't stop for 10 minutes.

"Her determination was amazing, I could just sort of feel it coming from her, this idea, of not on my watch," said the victim's wife, Betsy Farhi.

Her actions kept him alive until he got to NYU Langone.

Once there, he flat-lined on the emergency room table as many as 10 times before finally being successfully revived.


Doctors later learned he had 100% blockage of one of his arteries and he was in dire shape.

They credited the officers' actions with saving his life and preventing any brain damage.

"If you are the only bystander, you are literally the heart of the person who doesn't have a pulse," said NYU Langone Cardiologist Dr. Homam Ibrahim.

Farhi said he is eternally grateful to New York City, its EMTs, police the one young officer who just wouldn't give up.

"She's my guardian angel and I'll always keep her in my heart -- in my good heart," Farhi said.

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