Angelo Cordoba of Chicago is the 2012 Red Cross Emergency Medical Assistance Hero

On October 24, 2011 Chicago Fire Department Ambulance 23 was called to help a 36-year-old pregnant woman who was having trouble breathing. When paramedics arrived, they found the woman on a bathroom floor unresponsive. Shortly after patient contact was made, the woman went into full cardiac arrest. Knowing the baby’s life was at stake (the woman was pregnant in her third trimester), paramedics – namely Angelo Cordoba, Fire Paramedic – began CPR and Advanced Life Support care on the patient. Paramedics arrived on the scene to assist and they worked on the patient together, continuing CPR, until the patient was transferred to a hospital with a pediatric unit.

At the hospital, a surgeon performed an emergency cesarean section on the deceased woman in the emergency room, in front of the ambulance crew. The baby, weighing 4 pounds, 11 ounces was taken from the womb and began to cry. Hospital staff members have said that if it weren’t for the paramedics performing CPR on the mother, her baby would have died along with her.

“The question of how well CPR works, how effective it is when done properly are both questions answered in this miracle,” said nominator Doreen Rottman, one of Angelo’s peers. “CPR is a life-saving technique that we are taught to do properly and are expected to follow through as such. This ambulance crew (including Angelo) did that and today there is a new life that has a chance to make a difference.

Angelo and his crew worked on this patient like it was their child inside of her womb. “I really believe this is a bittersweet story,” Doreen said. “The mother died, yes, but a life was saved because CPR-certified people believed in what it could do – save lives.”

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