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A woman who suffered from cardiac arrest in March gave thanks to the group of first responders who saved her life during a ceremony last month, presenting them with an original painting that now hangs in the RIverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps’ headquarters.  

Patricia Manger, a Florida resident who was visiting her boyfriend in Jamesport, said her defibrillator malfunctioned, shocking her and causing her to go into cardiac arrest. Her pacemaker malfunctioned and she was without oxygen for around 25 minutes, she said.

The Jamesport Fire Department and Riverhead Police Department were the first on the scene late into the night and responded with CPR. Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps members, including Paramedic Erin Perrier and Emergency Medical Technicians Sameer Anand, Ed Ferger and Tyler Sutton conducted advanced life support care when they arrived on the scene, resuscitated Manger and transported her to Peconic Bay Medical Center. 

“The doctor said it was a miracle that I came out of it,” said Manger, who was in the hospital for 17 days. “And really, I owe them so much more than a painting, what they did for me. I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am today.”

Ambulance Corps members were presented with awards from the Suffolk County EMS Council for saving Manger on Sept. 19 with Manger in attendance. Manger presented flowers to the first responders and a homemade colorful acrylic painting on canvas which she calls “Fire Dancing.” She also painted another for doctors at Peconic Bay Medical Center who treated her.

It was a special moment for Manger, who said she was nearly speechless when meeting the crew who saved her life. 

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“I work in health care and I used to work in an ER many years ago,” Manger said. “I used to meet a lot of EMTs, but never realized what they had to go through till I was the patient. You are forever grateful.”

It wasn’t just a special moment for Manger. Perrier, the paramedic on the crew who responded to the call overnight, said it was her first save since joining the Corps in 2016.

“That was probably the coolest experience I’ve ever had in my entire life,” she said of meeting Manger last month. “It was just very inspiring and kind of life-changing.”

Perrier said her family also got to meet Manger during the ceremony, which was special to her. 

“My mom was an ER nurse for 30 years and I don’t think she’s ever had the opportunity to meet somebody that she’s assisted in saving,” Perrier said. “So to see her daughter be able to do that and meet the person and have a positive outcome and have the patient with no deficits, it was really cool for them and I know that they’re super proud.”

Manger suffered heart damage and vocal cord damage from the incident, which she said was a “small price to pay” for the crew saving her life.

“They say when you come back to life, it’s a rebirth,” Manger said. “Now I have two birthdays and [March] 26th is my new birthday. But they saved my life. They absolutely saved my life. I would have been gone.”

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: