Long Island

‘I'm Blessed': FDNY Paramedic Brothers Save Their Dad as He Was Suffering Heart Attack

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Two FDNY paramedic brothers from Long Island lived up to the department's nickname of "New York's Best" when they sprang into action to save the life of a man suffering a heart attack.

That man? It was their father.

Robert Coppola remembers the moment before he collapsed in his bathroom.

"There was no pain. You feel your heart pumping and it was just shaking, and I thought I’m going down
and there was black after that," he said. "I'm blessed, it just doesn’t happen like that."

The reason he's blessed: His sons Nickolas and Bobby were also home at the time.

"I saw my dad on the floor, he was already turning purple, unresponsive," said Bobby Coppola.

After seeing their father in cardiac arrest, Bobby and Nikolas had to put emotions aside and do what they are trained to do.

"We freaked out for a little bit, but we tried to catch our breath, do what we had to do in that moment," said Nickolas.

Bobby said it was a "reflex" to go rush to help, and that "luckily we could fall back on our skills that we use all the time."

The brothers worked on their father for 15 minutes until a Suffolk County police officer was able to bring an AED. After two shocks, their dad finally came to.

"We embraced each other when we realized he was awake and breathing and it was an instant feeling of relief when he opened his eyes and started talking," said Bobby.

People tell Robert he’s lucky that both his paramedic sons were home at the time. And while that might be true, he believes there are greater forces at work.

"Just wasn't my time," he said. "I’m faith-based. I don’t look at it as luck, I look at it as I’m blessed."

Robert had bypass surgery at the hospital, and is also recovering from broken ribs that were crushed during CPR. The doctors treating him said that his sons made all the difference — saving his life.

"I’m really not supposed to be here and if it weren’t for them being non-quitters, they weren’t quitting," Robert said.

Even on their day off, the brothers on Thursday were helping their dad out with his concrete business. Both were thankful they were in the right place at the right time to help save their dad.

"It’s too early to lose our father, we wanted to give him his best chance to be here for those memories," Nickolas said.

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