On Thursday, Jan. 24, Dr. Gerard Busacco arrived for his weekly appointment with seniors in the Terrace Apartments on Columbia Avenue in North Bergen, when he noticed that resident Patti Witzki was missing from her usual appointment. He immediately suspected that something was wrong, and took no chances.
“Patti didn’t show for her regular group so I called her room and she didn’t answer,” Busacco said. “We went to her apartment and found her lying face down.”
Busacco and others immediately called 911. While waiting for EMS to arrive, Busacco helped turn Witzki on her side and put a pillow under her head. She was reportedly semi-conscious; Busacco remained at her side until emergency services workers were on the scene. Busacco briefed them on her situation and medical history.
“Dr. Busacco is a dedicated professional, and his patients mean the world to him.” – Gerry Sanzari, NBHA Director
Thanks to the quick thinking of Busacco, a local chiropractor, paramedics were able to arrive in time to save the life of the 72-year-old township resident, who was incapacitated on her apartment floor suffering from a life-threatening medical condition.
Busacco is partnered with a program instituted by the North Bergen Housing Authority (NBHA), that provides services to senior residents of every NBHA senior housing development in the township. The program was launched in 2000.
All’s well that ends well
Witzki was transported to Palisades Medical Center. While her current condition remains private, Busacco told a North Bergen spokesman that he spoke with her in the hospital the following weekend.
“Her doctors told me if I hadn’t seen her when I did, she would have died,” Busacco said. “And if it wasn’t for Mayor Sacco’s program, that has been continued and committed to by Gerry Sanzari on behalf of NBHA, I never would’ve been there to help her.”
“Dr. Busacco is a dedicated professional and his patients mean the world to him,” said Sanzari, the NBHA director. “I’m so grateful this program was in place for him to be here and save this woman’s life, and we will never forget what he has done for us.”
Busacco will receive an award for his life-saving actions from Mayor Nicholas Sacco and other officials on behalf of the township of North Bergen.
Mike Montemarano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.