TSA Agent Saves Elderly Traveler’s Life After Heart Attack

Oct 1, 2018

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A 70-year-old traveler is alive today because of TSA agent Tony D’Amico’s quick thinking last Wednesday at Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport (MKE).

An unnamed elderly man collapsed to the ground Wednesday morning, just after passing through security at Concourse D. D’Amico and two other supervisors working in a nearby office heard the loud thump and ran out to find the man lying on the floor, arms extended and shaking uncontrollably, while another passenger tried to hold him after his fall.

D’Amico is no stranger to medical emergencies. A local firefighter who has worked for the TSA for more than a decade, D’Amico immediately put his first responder training to good use. In D’Amico’s own words, “I looked at him for a couple seconds to assess him. I noticed he wasn’t breathing. Checked a pulse, no pulse. I opened his shirt to see if any chest rise or stomach movement. I didn’t see any of that. I checked for a pulse again and immediately started CPR at that time.”

D’Amico’s chest compressions kept the man alive and eventually brought him back to slow movement. Airport police appeared on the scene just a few minutes after the man collapsed, and he was on his way to the hospital about 20 minutes later under the care of emergency medical personnel. But D’Amico’s quick response was what truly saved his life.

“It makes me feel really good,” D’Amico said. “If that wouldn’t have happened, brain damage starts occurring after four minutes.”

And D’Amico, who is being lauded as a hero, didn’t even take the rest of the shift off — he took a few minutes to “walk off” the adrenaline and then returned to his job.

“Probably [employee] of the year to be quite honest,” said Mark Lendvay, federal security director for the Department of Homeland Security. “Heroic efforts saving someone’s life, you don’t do that daily. And if you talk to him, he’ll just say he was doing his job.” The TSA plans on honoring D’Amico at the 2018 awards banquet at the end of the year.

D’Amico joined the TSA after 9/11 in order to honor his fellow firefighters who died in the line of duty. “I wanted to do a little more for my country,” D’Amico said.

Featured photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

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