West New York mayor a lifesaver after helping woman suffering seizure

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What could have been a terrible tragedy turned out to be a story of life and heroism.

As West New York’s Pet Fair was winding down due to the pouring rain Saturday afternoon, a woman started having a seizure.

I was making my way down Boulevard East back to my car, when I saw the woman convulsing on the ground and foaming at the mouth.

Attending to her was the town’s mayor, Dr. Felix Roque, who I was told had just arrived when he was summoned over to help.

And help he did…

The woman, in her late 40’s had a seizure disorder, according to the mayor.

“We don’t know the cause, more than likely it’s alcohol induced,” Roque says. “She obstructed so I gave her a jaw-thrust and CPR.”

Commissioner Susan Colacurcio and Women for West New York president, Dorinne Auriemma witnessed what happened and both told me the mayor saved the woman’s life.

“She was turning blue and not breathing and Roque saved her,” Auriemma says.

Stepping up to help whenever he sees someone in need just feels natural to the mayor.

“All your basic instincts come to life and now I turn myself from being the mayor to being a doctor,” Roque says. “That’s what I’m trained to do, save people’s lives.”

Chaos often ensues when someone suffers a medical emergency.

“You see people around you panicking and screaming, and the worry on their face — but I was so relaxed,” the mayor says.

Within minutes, West New York Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrived on scene and whisked the woman away on a stretcher.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)… knowing what NOT to do is important for keeping a person safe during or after a seizure. 

Never do any of the following things:

  • Do not try to restrain the person.
  • Do not put anything in the person’s mouth. This can injure teeth or the jaw. 
Don’t worry, they actually can’t swallow their tongue during a seizure.
  • Do not offer the person water, pills or food until he or she is fully alert.

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Jillian has a passion for news, giving voice to the voiceless and telling stories that make an impact. A New Jersey native, she spent the past two years as a multimedia journalist/one-man-band at WTAP-TV, the NBC affiliate in Parkersburg, West Virginia, where she covered everything from meth busts to fracking to the homeless to a young man struck by lightening. She was her news director’s “go to health reporter” and also covered many education and political stories. She frequently interviewed the mayors of Parkersburg, Vienna and Williamstown, WV and Belpre and Marietta, Ohio. She interviewed OH Gubernatorial Candidate Ed Fitzgerald and OH Congressional Candidate Jennifer Garrison, as well as WV Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and WV Senator Joe Manchin. Jillian was a regular fixture at the local police, sheriff’s departments, prosecutors’ offices and courthouses. Many looked forward to her ‘Mom of the Month’ series. Her story about two women who lost their children to heroin was widely recognized, along with her much loved piece on the Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis band camp. In her free time, Jillian enjoys yoga; working out, live music, spending time with friends on both coasts and the Mid-Ohio Valley. Follow on Twitter @JillianRis

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