Heart attack survivor reunites with good Samaritan who helped save him

Posted: Updated:
SYOSSET -

A man who survived a heart attack on board a Long Island Rail Road train reunited Wednesday with the good Samaritan who helped save his life.

Bradley Wieboldt says he owes his life to fellow LIRR commuter Avi Hatami.

On the morning of March 18, Wieboldt, of East Norwich, and Hatami, of Woodbury, boarded the same train in Syosset. Moments later, Wieboldt collapsed from a massive heart attack. That's when Hatami, a 23-year-old who recently graduated from medical school, sprang into action.

Along with a nurse, Hatami performed CPR for nearly 20 minutes until they were met by EMTs at the Westbury train station.

Wieboldt spent the next five days at NYU Winthrop Hospital, waking up on his 51st birthday with no memory of what happened.

On Wednesday, the two men met for the first time since the incident. And though their story did have a happy ending, they noticed a key piece of lifesaving equipment -- an automated external defibrillator, or AED -- was nowhere to be found.

The LIRR says its trains are not equipped with AEDs. Instead, the devices are stored at key stations, and they're also carried by first responders. Wieboldt says that must change. But for now, he's just thankful Hatami was on that train.

"My brain function, my kidneys, my heart -- everything is fine," Wieboldt says. "The doctors can't believe it. And I have Avi to thank for that."

The LIRR wouldn't say if it has plans to equip trains with defibrillators, only telling News 12 that it's continuing to consult with the medical community to ensure best practices.

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