After working out at Planet Fitness in Hicksville last Friday, 16-year-old Levittown resident Robert Aquila found a man unconscious on the bathroom floor.
What he did next was nothing short of heroic and brave.
According to Aquila, he identified himself as CPR and AED [defibrillator] certified to gym staff.
"I immediately went in and did about five sets of CPR and asked for the defibrillator," Aquila explained. "I gave him the shock, didn't get a pulse back and started doing more CPR. The cops and ambulance came and took over. By the time they got him to the hospital they finally got a pulse back."
Aquila said police and paramedics told him if he hadn't initiated these lifesaving efforts, the man would probably not have survived.
The man was transferred to Nassau University Medical Center where he remains in the hospital. Aquila and his mother, Susan, visited the man and met his grateful family.
"We are just so proud of him," the elder Aquila said. "I am truly amazed that he applied CPR, chest compressions, and used a defibrillator to bring a pulse back to an elderly man after suffering a heart attack. Now, we just have to wait and pray that this wonderful man recovers. And, as my son continues to visit with him, I'll be by his side."
Aquila said his training as a junior firefighter for East Meadow Fire Department helped him to quickly spring into action during this grave situation.
Aquila, a junior at Division Avenue High School, is also currently in his first year of a Medical/Introduction to Health Occupations program at Levittown's Gerald R. Claps Career and Technical Center. According to the district's website, "this two-year Medical/ Introduction to Health Occupations program provides students with entry-level skills in both the clinical and the administrative areas of medicine. In addition with the extensive theory studies, a medical laboratory allows students to practice hands-on skills."
Aquila said he plans on continuing his education in the medical field as a nurse practitioner.
"My son has learned so much from being a junior firefighter as well as the training he receives from the medical program," Susan Aquila said. "Both my husband and I hope that he follows his goals in life, enters the medical field and continues to use knowledge and compassion to help people."