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A debt I can never repay

Author thanks first responders for saving his life


Saturday, March 20th began like any other Saturday during a year of COVID.

I made breakfast for my mother.

APRIL 5: Everett Fire Engine 3 responds to a call. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

I made certain she had her morning medications. I helped my mom to get dressed and to be ready for the day.

A few days before, on the 16th of March, she turned 94 years.

I poured myself a cup of coffee and I ate some buttered toast.

My appetite didn’t feel too hearty that day less than one month ago.

Later that morning, I was feeling sick to my stomach.

I didn’t know really what to do. I went back to bed.

I thought the uncomfortable feeling of almost being sick would pass as it has done so many times before.

This wasn’t to be like so many times before.

Late in the afternoon, about 4:00 p.m. I awakened in a panic of bad ill feeling like I was going to die.

I ran to the bathroom. I vomited violently.

The toilet bowl was a bright red. Blood was everywhere.

I immediately called 911. Then I called my brother.

“You better get over here right away to take care of Mum,” I told him.

I was spitting up blood and coughing blood.

The blood just kept coming. It wouldn’t stop.

Much later in the day, I was asked if I was scared.

“Everything happened so fast I couldn’t remember,” was my answer.

Everett Fire arrived within minutes.

Right behind them was Cataldo ambulance. I was growing weak and nearing a point where I believed I was going to pass out. Blood was everywhere.

I was apparently being taken to the Massachusetts General Hospital.

At the last minute, the EFD firefighters told the ambulance medics to “Get him to the Whidden Hospital (CHA).

I believe that split-second decision saved my life.

I woke up at the CHA with a team of doctors and nurses around me.

I signed a paper for a blood transfusion. CHA stabilized me enough so that Cataldo could transfer me to MGH.

Cataldo sped me into Boston.

I began vomiting more blood again during the ride.

I made it to MGH in time to have another blood transfusion and eventually emergency surgery.

The culprit was a large vein branching off my liver that burst.

The surgery was successful and because of these everyday heroes who flew to my aid, and who knew what they were doing, I’m still alive and much better and able to enjoy my life again.

I owe my life to these everyday heroes. It is a debt that I can never repay.

• Everett Fire Dept.
• Cataldo Ambulance
• CHA Everett
• MGH Boston

Thank you so much, all of you. I sleep better knowing a 911 call can be a lifesaver.

For them, it’s a job. To them, it’s a job.

To me and my family, they are heroes.

They saved my life.

Stephen Pinto writes about Everett and life for the Leader Herald

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