BURRILLVILLE – A 26-year-old woman thanked emergency responders in Pascoag for their quick response and life-saving action following a heart attack that could have ended in tragedy this week.
Angela Giaquinta is no stranger to volunteer EMTs and paramedics in the village. The 2011 Burrillville High School graduate suffers from type 1 diabetes, and had her first heart attack in 2018, at the age of 25.
On Thursday, Jan. 30, Giaquinta was at home when she says she began to experience intermittent pain that felt like another heart attack. Giaquinta called 911, and the team from Pascoag Fire Department and emergency workers, arrived within minutes.
But as officials were working to stabilize her, Giaquinta became unresponsive. A myocardial infarction – a heart attack that could be deadly – had rendered her lifeless.
EMTs quickly detected the problem, and treated her with life saving measures, including defibrillation and CPR.
Rescue Capt. Thomas Smith noted that the group’s decisive actions may have come just in time. According to the American Heart Association, brain death and permanent death start to occur in 4-6 minutes after someone experiences cardiac arrest.
“The Cardiac arrest can be reversible if treated within a few minutes with an electric shock and Advanced Life Support intervention to restore a normal heartbeat,” notes the AHA’s position.
“Rescue 4 got there within 6 minutes,” said Smith, noting that the team administered IV’s and gave Giaquinta antiarrhythmic medications, as well as oxygen.
Once she came to, Giaquinta asked EMT James Williams to call her mother.
“My poor mother was out at the time, so receiving such a phone call was destabilizing for her, but she was comforted by his final words on the phone, ‘but we got her back,’” she said.
Giaquinta was taken to Rhode Island Hospital, where she made a full recovery.
It is not the first time Giaquinta, a former student and library technician at the Community College of Rhode Island, has had to call for help – and has been grateful for the results.
Giaquinta was forced to quit her studies at the school due to medical problems, and for the past seven years, has lived with Buddy, a support dog who can detect when her blood sugar is low.
“We, as an entire household, feel as thought Pascoag paramedics and EMTs are a piece of our family, as they frequent our home so much,” she told NRI NOW this week. “I am forever grateful to these individuals and their ability to recognize what was occurring in my body that can only be read through electrical signals and respond within a beautifully reasonable time frame.”
Giaquinta notes that she is lucky to have survived the event.
“We too often forget these great heroes tucked away in our little hometowns,” she said. “They deserve more recognition than we award these fine individuals. If it were not for these certified crew, there would unfortunately be many more suffering people on our hands and for that I am especially appreciative.”