L.I. Teen Saves Father During Heart Attack

A high school senior saved her father's life after he suffered a heart attack in their family's Merrick home.

Colleen Oggeri was able to save her dad Doug's life by administering CPR, using the technique she had learned in a police athletic league course.

"I immediately thought of him missing my prom and my graduation," the high school senior said, fighting back tears.  "I couldn't lose him, so I felt that I had to do something."

"I was scared I wasn't doing it right," said Colleen, 18.  But her actions made the difference in this case, Oggeri's doctor said.

"I told Doug: 'Your daughter saved your life,'" said Dr. Rajiv Jauhar, director of interventional cardiology at Long Island Jewish Medical center.  "She is your angel." 

Most heart attack cases outside a hospital end in death, according to Dr. Jauhar.  Colleen Oggeri's actions, he said, gave her 55-year-old dad a fighting chance.

Minutes later, emergency medical technicians from Merrick arrived and used defibrillators to jolt Oggeri's heart twice.  He began to breath again.  The Port Authority worker was then transferred to Nassau University Medical center, where doctors employed hypothermia treatment to lower his body temperature and reduce stress on the heart.  Finally, he was transferred to Long Island Jewish, where doctors found and treated two nearly total blockages of his coronary arteries. 

"This is like getting a second life," said a grateful Oggeri.  "I hope to make the most of it."

Oggeri had been stricken while shoveling snow February 3. 

"He is the heart of our household and I don't know what we'd do without him," said his tearful wife of 25 years.  Linda Oggeri had dialed 911 and then watched in amazement as her daughter rushed to her husband's aid.

After eight days in the hospital, Oggeri was cleared to return home Friday.  He will wear what is called a "life vest," a portable device that will both monitor his heart rate and rhythms and shock it, if needed. 

As he prepared to leave the hospital, the father of three with a family history of heart disease insisted he had learned his lesson.  He promised to buy a snow blower and take better care of his heart.

"Everyone needs to learn CPR," Oggeri added.

More than anything, as he hugged Colleen, Oggeri was reminded of the depth of a daughter's love. 

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