CARROLL GARDENS — The paramedic who saved a Brooklyn newborn's life on Wednesday said the baby girl had already turned blue as he started to resuscitate the lifeless child.
A woman gave the baby, whose umbilical cord was still attached and tied off with a shoestring, to a stranger on Bedford Avenue a little after 6 p.m. Wednesday and then fled. The good Samaritan turned the baby over to medics at Lincoln Place and Rogers Avenue.
"I found the bystander who had the baby passed off to her — a newborn, which was lifeless. It was limp. No muscle tone. Blue skin color," said Carl Gandolfo who teared up Thursday morning as he spoke at his EMS base on Carroll Street. "I immediately opened the airway, gave two rescue breaths and the baby cried a little."
Gandolfo and his partners Terrance Lau and Jamaal Shabazz rushed the baby to Kings County Hospital where she was miraculously in stable condition by the time Gandolfo, a 4-year EMS veteran left the hospital Wednesday night.
"I have a 15-month-old of my own at home, so it definitely hits home when you hear a pediatric call," said Gandolfo, who added that the first thing he did was check on his child when he got home early Thursday morning. "I got home at three o'clock in the morning last night and woke him up and gave him a hug and a kiss."
Gandolfo said there was a "chaotic scene" around the child when they first arrived with people frantically trying to get the baby help.
The paramedic added that any person who is unable to take care of a newborn for any reason can drop the baby off at a police or fire station under the Safe Haven law.
"You can leave a newborn baby at a police station, at a fire station, at an EMS station, at a hospital, no questions asked."
Gandolfo added that he was going visit the baby again at the hospital to make sure she's doing okay.
"A lot of jobs that I do myself I like to follow up on at the hospital to see the patient outcome," he said. "To do this job, it's a calling, you have to have that desire inside to care for people."
EMT Jamaal Shabazz said he was overcome with emotion after knowing the baby was safe.
"Because of us by the time the baby left our care the baby was in the hospital — pink and had life and was crying," Shabazz said. "I don't know if you can put into words the satisfaction that you feel inside."
Police are investigating and do not yet have description of the woman who handed the child off.