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November 10, 2010

Pa. deputies use CPR, defibrillator to revive officer

By Bill Vidonic
The Pittsburgh Tribune Review

PITTSBURGH — Two Allegheny County sheriff's deputies revived a McKeesport police officer who suffered an apparent heart attack yesterday in the County Courthouse.

"It was emotional for me to see him come back," Deputy Scott McCarthy said. "It was an amazing feeling."

McKeesport Officer Todd Gebis, 43, was resting in stable condition at UMPC Mercy Hospital, according to Sheriff William Mullen. McKeesport police did not return calls seeking information.

Mullen said Gebis was in the building for a court hearing when he collapsed about 11 a.m. He fell in a stairway between the first and second floors and cut his head.

McCarthy and Deputy Anthony Fratto were working nearby in the Family Court Building and heard the police dispatch about an "officer down in a stairwell."

Fratto, a former paramedic, and McCarthy grabbed medical equipment and dashed into the courthouse. When they arrived, Gebis' skin was purple, they said. He was not breathing and they could not find a pulse. His head was bleeding.

While McCarthy, 36, began chest compressions, Fratto, 47, performed ventilation with a mask on Gebis.

Pittsburgh police Officer Richard Stern brought a portable defibrillator kept at the courthouse and the men shocked Gebis once before resuming their work to revive him.

Moments later, medics arrived, Fratto said. They checked Gebis and said, "Hey, you brought him back."

"If it wasn't for Fratto and McCarthy, he may not have made it," Mullen said.

The officer's color improved when medics loaded him into a waiting ambulance, McCarthy said, and he opened his eyes.

Fratto conducts American Red Cross emergency responder classes twice a year, teaching people everything from "(applying) Band-Aids to delivering babies," he said.

"The Red Cross is certainly proud that he put this training to use by actually saving a life," said spokesman Brian Knavish.

"It's not every day that you can use your training and see the good that comes out of it," Fratto said.

Copyright 2010 Tribune Review Publishing Company

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