News: Receiving Awards and Saving Lives, All in a Day’s Work
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Master Sgt Jon Cammarata of the North Carolina Air National Guard saved a life while New Orleans after receiving the Italian-American Veterans Award from the Louisiana Italian-American Cultural Center during their annual Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
An Italian-American, Louisiana native, and an athlete in High School; he lettered in football, wrestling, track, baseball and tennis. He was also all-district in football and wrestling. This coupled with his 19 years of military service lead to his recognition.
“During the awards ceremony I was with all these athletes like Raymond Delucci and Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini,” said Cammarata.
Cammarata and his fiancée Sarah, were at a hotel the morning after the ceremony, when they heard a commotion in the halls.
“I went out to see what I needed to do,” he said. “I saw a guy without a shirt, bending slightly, with his back to me. I asked if he needed help. He turned and said, ‘She stabbed me! The #$%@& stabbed me!’”
When he turned toward Cammarata, blood was shooting in spurts from his upper chest like a water sprinkler. He continued the story adding, “I pinned him against the wall with my hands, one on top of the other over the wound, and blood still shot through my fingers. I told him ‘I can’t stop the bleeding. Can I put my fingers in you? After a short pause, he said ‘Yes. Do it. You do what you have to do.’”
Cammarata then stacked his middle finger on top of his index, pushing his fingers into the victim’s upper chest. The cut was much larger than it looked, and his fingers slipped right in. By luck they landed on the artery, pinching it up against the victim’s collar bone. He could still feel it throbbing; his plug dramatically slowed the bleeding. Using his free hand, he applied pressure a couple of inches left of the wound and got lucky again. The bleeding stopped.
Everyone who came out of their hotel door to see what was happening would immediately go back inside. One family was on their way out of their room when the victim said he was going to pass-out. “When I asked for help, the guy told me, ‘just let him fall,’” Cammarata explained.
Finally a policeman arrived. By then, “both arms and most of my right side are covered in blood; he said continuing, “my fingers on both hands were aching and sore from pressure I was applying.” Relieved to have someone take over, Cammarata asked what else needed to be done. The Officer instructed him to, “Keep doing what you’re doing,” explaining that he would have to wait for the paramedics. “I am not allowed to take over,” the officer confessed.
The paramedics finally arrived and took over for Cammarata.
“I told the paramedic (the bleeding) was a lot worse than that before. I later found out, with a severed artery you can bleed to death in five to 10 minutes, but if you can stop the bleeding, an artery will close itself off in 10-15,” said Cammarata. His fingers had been in the man’s chest at least 12 minutes.
Weeks later the Police called Cammarata to inform him the victim survived.
Date Posted:06.04.2011 15:09
Location:CHARLOTTE, NC, US
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