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Lifesavers honored for aiding 45-year-old

By Miranda Willson

Mayor Hartley Connett, Officer Michael Marron, paramedic supervisor Jared Rosenberg, nurse Liz Rosenberg, Alison Toth, Officer Joshua Posnick, Anna Toth, Dana Toth, paramedic Michael Usher, Nathaniel Toth, EMT Kayleigh Maupin, EMT Brian Marron, and Chief Betsy Gelardi.


DOBBS FERRY — The first Dobbs Ferry Village Board meeting of the year, on Jan. 10, turned emotional when the board presented certificates of appreciation to eight people who helped save a local man's life last month.

The honorees included nurse and Dobbs Ferry resident Liz Rosenberg; Dobbs Ferry Police Officers Joshua Posnick, Michael Digilio, and Michael Marron; Greenburgh Police Department paramedic Michael Usher and paramedic supervisor Jared Rosenberg (Liz Rosenberg’s husband); and Dobbs Ferry Volunteer Ambulance Corps EMTs Brian Marron (Michael Marron’s cousin) and Kayleigh Maupin.

The man they saved, 45-year-old Nathaniel Toth, went into cardiac arrest on Dec. 2 at approximately 8 a.m., while driving westbound on Ashford Avenue with his wife, Alison Toth. Nathaniel Toth, who was on his way to his job at the New York City Council at the time of the incident, addressed the eight honorees at the meeting with tears in his eyes.

“The first thing everybody has been asking me is, ‘What happened that day?’ Well, I was on my way to work, and my joke has been, ‘That’ll just teach you: don’t go to work,’” Toth said. “Thank God everybody here went to work that day… I don’t know what you can possibly say. You saved my life.”

While presenting the certificates of appreciation to the eight individuals, Dobbs Ferry Mayor Hartley Connett said the incident last month is among many examples of Dobbs Ferry’s unique strength as a community.

“Sometimes, extraordinary situations are presented, with no time to prepare or think, when quick and selfless actions are needed from everyday people to avert tragedy,” he said. “Such a situation was presented on Dec. 2, 2016… the selfless response and actions of members of our community, professional first responders and an everyday citizen all found themselves coming together to achieve an extraordinary outcome.”

The first individual to respond to Toth’s heart attack was Liz Rosenberg. She recalled driving near Ashford Avenue that Friday morning when she saw a woman waving her hands in distress outside of a stopped car.

“I had just dropped my kids off at Springhurst [Elementary School], and was turning the corner to go home, and I saw Nathan and Alison’s car on Ashford Avenue,” Rosenberg said. “I wasn’t sure if there was a car accident, so I flipped onto Ashford to see what was going on. I just saw that it looked like [Nathan Toth] was taking his last breath.”

Rosenberg and Alison Toth were able to remove him from the car with the help of two male bystanders, and Rosenberg began performing CPR.

Officer Posnick, who was in his vehicle near the scene at the time, said another bystander informed him of the emergency.

“I was just sitting in the parking lot [of the Mobil station on Broadway] and somebody said, ‘Hey, I think somebody died over there,”’ Posnick said. “And then as soon as I started driving, the dispatch on the radio came in.”

Posnick, along with Officer Digilio, arrived with an automated external defibrillator (AED) and began using it to help restore the victim’s heart rhythm, according to Dobbs Ferry Police Chief Betsy Gelardi, who came to the scene shortly thereafter.

Officer Marron also arrived soon after, and he and the other officers took turns performing CPR until the Greenburgh paramedics and the Dobbs Ferry Volunteer Ambulance Corps arrived.

Toth was transported to the emergency department of St. John’s Riverside Hospital in Yonkers, where he was stabilized, Gelardi told the crowd at the meeting. He was then transferred to Westchester Medical Center, where he underwent surgery to remove the blockage that caused the heart attack, according to Toth.

“Only a few hours later, he was awake and speaking to his family,” Gelardi said.

The Toths have two daughters, 14-year-old Anna and 9-year-old Dana.

Many of the individuals involved noted several extraordinary aspects of the situation that contributed to Toth’s survival. Posnick stressed the quick speed at which first responders arrived and the unusual fact that everyone there, with the exception of one police officer, was either an EMT or a paramedic with advanced life-support training.

“Liz and I kept making eye contact, and we could tell [that] things [were] not good here,” Gelardi said. “It’s funny how you don’t even have to speak, you just have to look at each other.”

Gelardi added that by the time all of the first responders had arrived, they were performing CPR in the middle of Ashford Avenue, blocking traffic.

According to Officer Marron, employees from the Dobbs Ferry Department of Public Works arrived to help direct traffic around them for the half hour during which they were in the street and then getting Toth into the ambulance.

At one point, Toth’s daughter Anna walked by the scene on her way to school, so Rosenberg, Gelardi, and Alison Toth prevented her from seeing her father while he was unconscious.

“We stayed back with her, to keep her away [from her father],” Liz Rosenberg said. “You never want a 14-year-old to see their dad like that, ever.”

She added that the situation might not have ended so well had it unfolded minutes — or even seconds — later.

“When you think about what could have happened, 10 seconds later, he would’ve been in the middle of a major intersection, where kids were going to school,” she said. “Everything happened right where it should have, for a reason. You can’t even explain it.”

Gelardi similarly emphasized the uniqueness of this particular incident, which she described as “a Christmas miracle.”

“This stuff is really cool when it works,” she said. “I think we’ve had one other save that went on to be a legitimate save, but this is the first time that I’ve ever had somebody come back in this capacity. It’s just very cool.”

Toth, who has made a full recovery, expressed excitement about the Village's recognition of the honorees, and about having the chance to meet them all and thank them personally at the Jan. 10 meeting. 

“I think this is testament to the town being a very tight-knit unit,” he said.

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the Rivertowns Enterprise. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.


January 20, 2017

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