April 2, 2009


(He may not be Irish, but the Luck O’ The Irish was certainly with one man on a trip to the courthouse on St. Patrick’s Day.

Just before noon on March 17th, 65-year-old Richard Johnantonio collapsed as he was about to enter Broward County’s South Regional Courthouse to pay for his expired vehicle tag. A Pembroke Pines police officer happened to be in the right place at the right time. Officer Charles Herring quickly tended to the heart attack victim, starting Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Jeff Cox and Ed Bennett grabbed the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) from the security desk. As they reached the unresponsive victim, Officer Herring and another bystander, Jean J. Versailles were performing CPR. Versailles just so happens to be a respiratory therapist with Memorial Hospital West.

The deputies applied the AED and a shock was delivered. A short time later, Mr. Johnantonio amazingly started to regain consciousness. Paramedics from Hollywood Fire Rescue quickly arrived and initiated Advanced Cardiac Life Support Treatment. They transported the patient to Memorial Regional Hospital where he was treated in the Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute.

Photo caption: Richard Johnantonio, center, shows off the scar from life-saving open heart surgery at Memorial Regional Hospital to his rescuers at a reunion on March 27th. Seated (L to R), are: Jean Versailles, Ofc. Charles Herring, Mr.Johnantonio, Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jeff Cox and Dr. Gary Allen (Johnantonio’s cardiac surgeon). Standing (L to R), are Hollywood firefighter/paramedics Jeff Vidal, Capt. Dennis Rudasill and James Marold. Unable to attend the reunion were BSO deputy Ed Bennett and three additional rescuers from Hollywood: George Burns, Marlene Harden and Lt. Brian White.

Photo by: Mike Jachles/Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue

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