NORTON — Town resident Chris Vittorini has been recognized for helping save a man’s life, but he doesn’t consider himself a hero.
“Everything happens for a reason and I was there for a reason to help this guy out,” Vittorini, 46, said Wednesday.
The fire department on Tuesday gave Vittorini the Citizen Lifesaving Award for performing CPR on the unconscious man, despite the emphasis that’s been placed on social distancing in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 50-year-old victim was taken to Sturdy Memorial Hospital by local firefighters, who cited Vittorini’s efforts with helping them to revive the man.
The victim, whose name and medical condition was not disclosed, was alert and talking by the time the crew got to the hospital, according to fire Capt. Jason Robbins.
Early intervention with CPR by the public plays an important role in a patient’s survival, fire officials said.
A person’s chances of surviving a cardiac arrest decrease by 10 percent every minute that CPR is not done.
Recalling his role, Vittorini said he had just driven out of his home on Strawstone Lane and onto Oak Street the night of April 19 when he saw three people standing on the side of the road with a man lying on his back.
“I turned around, parked on the side of the road and ran down to them,” Vittorini said.
One of the men had a cellphone in his hand so Vittorini assumed he called 911, but he remembers telling him to call 911 anyway as he looked at the victim.
“He was flat on his back. Lifeless,” Vittorini said, adding that the man’s face had turned blue and purple.
Vitorrini said he tilted the man’s head to help him breathe and started compressions on the man’s chest.
His adrenaline flowing, Vittorini said all he could think about was just concentrating on giving the man CPR.
“Honestly, I wanted to save his life. I wasn’t going to stop until the paramedics got there,” he said.
Robbins said Vittorini did CPR for seven minutes before the rescue crew arrived to take over.
“Seven minutes feels like a lifetime when you are doing CPR,” Robbins said.
At the same time firefighters got the call, they were called to go to Taunton for a fire and also a car fire on Interstate 495 in Norton, he said.
With all the concern most people have about being infected with the highly-contagious virus, Robbins said Vittorini “really stepped up.”
If he had not stopped and performed CPR on the victim, Robbins said, the man “could have passed away.”
Vittorini said he knew how to perform CPR from his days as a Boy Scout and from helping his 19-year-old daughter, a fire department intern, study to be an EMT.
He brushed off the notion of being a hero and focused on the man he helped.
“I’m just glad he made it. I was just in the right place at the right time,” Vittorini said.
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