October 30, 2017




The angels were looking out for George Durmer

George Durmer hugs two of his guardian angels, paramedic Beth Bodnar and his son, Kevin

TOWN OF SOUTHEAST – George Durmer calls himself the ‘luckiest man on earth’ after going into cardiac arrest not once but twice within hours and living to tell the tale.

It was a week ago Saturday when Durmer, a member of the Brewster Fire Department, came into his Cooledge Drive home in Southeast after gardening and experienced severe chest pain. The 50-year-old asked his wife to call 911.

EMT and Paramedic Beth Bodnar, a neighbor, was passing Durmer’s home when her pager went off. “I was directly in front of the residence and walked in the door. George was having difficulty breathing and I immediately realized he was having a heart attack. I contacted 9-1-1 and asked them to expedite the paramedic who was in the neighborhood and arrived less than a minute later.”

The Brewster Fire Department ambulance also quickly pulled up to the scene. Durmer was hooked up to a variety of scans and once in the ambulance, intravenous medication was administered.

Bodnar said while en route to Danbury Hospital, she was talking to Durmer when he turned blue. “Paramedic Joe Bilalto and I gave him a cardio thump. We shocked him and continued CPR. The Good Lord was on his side because George became revived.”

The rescue rig diverted to Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel since Durmer was not steady enough to travel directly to Danbury. At Putnam Hospital, he was given stabilizing and life-saving drugs before being transferred to the cardiac center at Danbury Hospital.

George’s son, Kevin, a member of the Brewster Fire Department and an emergency medical technician in New York City, also assisted in the life-saving.
“My training kicked in. I remember Beth telling me, ‘You shouldn’t be here right now!’ I told her, ‘Too bad!’ Thank God all went well,” said the young man.

Bodnar praised the younger Durmer. “Considering it was his dad on that gurney, he did a remarkable job. I don’t know how I would be!”

Three stents were placed in Durmer’s heart during a cardiac procedure at the hospital during which he went into cardiac arrest for a second time before being revived on the operating table.

Last Friday, 24 hours after the ‘miracle man’ returned home from the hospital, Durmer called the rescue crew and staff at both Putnam and Danbury Hospitals his angels. “I owe these guys my life. They are wonderful. I have been a member of the fire service since 1991. We are family. I am so grateful and love them to pieces.”

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