Rod Meloni: Hunting for a hero

Published On: Feb 15 2013 06:38:27 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 15 2013 06:40:33 PM EST

His quick action at a Bloomfield Hills restaurant saved another man, but no one has seen the hero since.

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. -

Where are you sir? That’s the question tonight for Terry and Noreen Donovan of West Bloomfield.

They are in desperate search of a tall slender man who intervened when 74-year-old Terry fell to the ground outside Hogan’s Restaurant on Telegraph in Bloomfield Hills on Saturday Night January 26th. Terry suffered a heart attack that, by all medical measures, should have killed him. In fact, technically it did. When Terry hit the pavement he also hit his head. Noreen is a trained Registered Nurse, but her horror was so great, her breath so lost at seeing Terry lying there she froze.

The unidentified man saw all of this unfolding before his eyes and did not hesitate for a moment. He jumped right in and started chest compressions on Terry. Another woman called 911. It took a couple of minutes for EMS to arrive from just up the street on Telegraph. The mystery hero stepped aside when the professionals got on the scene and then he disappeared into the gathering crowd and went home without saying a word to anyone. Terry and Noreen sped off to the hospital in the ambulance and the crowd dispersed with the commotion.

Now, my late father, Deacon James Meloni Jr., used to say that charity is best given anonymously because the gift is in the giving. It is obvious this man is living his life this way. Yet, here is the rub. The Donovans want to say thank you first and foremost. Terry told me he wants to give him a hug and say a prayer for him. It is Terry Donovan’s cardiologist Dr. Nishit Choksi who wants to know the name of this hero and take the measure of a man’s man, unbowed by a litigious society. Choksi wants this unknown hero to come into the light because his example is important, and with hope, contagious. The good doctor says this mystery man’s chest compressions for those few minutes were the difference between Terry’s life, death and brain damage.

Terry was in fact dead on the ground. Paramedics shocked his heart twice in the ambulance while he lay not breathing. Doctors shocked him four more times in the emergency room. They medically induced a coma and put Terry into a new cooling therapy where they chilled his body temperature to 60 degrees for a couple of days to preserve brain function and them warmed him up again while treating his blocked heart arteries.

When Terry awoke after eight days he was perfectly fine, his mental functions like short and long term memory were intact. He will go back to work at Home Depot although he now has to live with a defibrillator. The quick work and calm thinking in just a couple moments time will now make the quality of life for the Donovans incalculably better. Dr. Choksi wants the world to know that this is what you do in a crisis like this and this is the difference you can make by getting involved instead of waiting for the paramedics to arrive.

It’s the great example of selflessness in a pinch we can all learn from.

So please sir, come forward. Don’t be bashful! There is great value in what you did and perhaps greater value in letting the rest of Metro Detroit in on what motivated you to be that selfless. We at Local Four are happy to put you in touch with the Donovans. We certainly would like to tell your story too.

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