NEW YORK CITY PARAMEDICS VOLUNTEER
TO SAVE LIVES OF EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS IN PAKISTAN --
"60 MINUTES" SUNDAY
New York's firefighters are called its "bravest." The city's police are its "finest." Now, 13 paramedics from the city could be dubbed the city's "kindest" for traveling to Pakistan on their own accord and leaving their jobs and paychecks to save the lives of earthquake victims who had no other medical help. Bob Simon reports on the medics from an earthquake-ravaged valley in the Kashmir region of Pakistan for a 60 MINUTES segment to be broadcast Sunday, Nov. 13 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
"We're saving lives, many lives, every single day," says one of the paramedics, Joe Connelly. "As a paramedic in New York City, once in a while you have a direct influence on life and death. Here it's happening every half an hour," he tells Simon.
The group is cleaning and bandaging festering wounds, treating infections, pneumonia and dysentery -- all potentially fatal -- with supplies they begged, borrowed and pilfered from New York to Islamabad. The victims have been untreated for weeks and many were close to death. One small boy suffering from double pneumonia and dehydration was unresponsive and thought to be an hour from dying. The team was able to sink a drip into his shin bone to begin the flow of fluids that saved the boy's life.
Such efforts take on additional meaning because the paramedics are working in a section of the world known to harbor Islamic terrorists who hate America. They believe their humanitarian efforts will affect some hearts and maybe change some minds. "You can see it in their eyes, they're not going to forget you�where you're from. It will be two generations," says paramedic Steve Muth. "They'll still be saying�'When you were a kid, it was the Americans who came after the earthquake.' They won't forget."
The team was surprised to find themselves the only medical relief in the remote valley, where thousands need help. "There is such a need here," says paramedic Chris Summers. "In this valley, Jeelum Valley -- an enormous need and how is it possible that it is just us? Thirteen knuckleheads from New York here."