The last time Tiffany Chew saw Christopher Jurczak and Maria Westphal, she was clinging to life.
The 28-year-old mother went into sudden cardiac arrest on her way home from work back in March.
“My car hit a ditch and then smashed into a pole.”
Christopher and Maria, both trained EMTs with Twin City Ambulance, were headed to the gym when they spotted Tiffany’s car on Lockport Road in Niagara Falls.
“She was unresponsive in the car,” Christopher said.
He was able to sit her up, while Maria stabilized her neck; this was her first code.
“I figured she’s fairly young, like I should be able to feel a pulse and I kept saying I don’t really feel one and I was second guessing myself and it turns out she really didn’t have a pulse,” she told News 4.
Trusting her training, and her instincts, Maria started CPR while they waited for more help.
Within minutes, crews from the Niagara Active Hose Company and Mercy EMS were on scene.
“She was absolutely pulse-less and not breathing,” Mercy EMS flight paramedic Andrew LaPlante said.
Tiffany was shocked with a defibrillator three times before her heart finally started beating again.
Tuesday, that heart was full of gratitude for the first responders who just wouldn’t let go.
All of them gathered to reunite with Tiffany at the Niagara Active Hose Company.
“We very seldom see the end result and especially in somebody as young as Tiffany,” said Joshua Lengen with the Niagara Active Hose Company.
Aside from meeting her heroes, Tiffany also discovered evidence of the save; tiny hole right on her leg.
It turns out Andrew LaPlante drilled it to give her life-saving medicine.
“We literally just drill a hole into the bone. So in a cardiac arrest sometimes it’s hard to get IVs so we establish what we call an IO, just drilling a hole into the bone to get fluids and medications that way.”
Tiffany’s son Randy wanted to show his thanks too, so he made a card for all of the first responders.
The team was also recognized by Mount Saint Mary’s hospital, where they brought Tiffany; they received the “best save” award.
The first responders noted how important basic CPR knowledge is, and credit that training with saving Tiffany’s life.