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The NYPD’s own “MacGyver,” who saved a stabbing victim in Harlem with a potato chip bag and duct tape, had never even tried the unconventional tactic before, he admitted Tuesday.
Officer Ronald Kennedy told reporters he relied on his prior EMT experience earlier this month to stabilize the potentially fatal wound of a 29-year-old — who had been stabbed in the right side of his chest below his nipple — as they waited for medics.
“We requested a bag of potato chips and some tape, ’cause we knew right away that we needed to seal the chest, ” the officer said at a press conference. “There was a puncture wound there … we didn’t want the air going in it, collapsing his lung.”
“I was looking specifically for the size — that size bag, squared edges, um, and that type of material that wouldn’t allow air to pass through,” Kennedy said.
It was the cop’s split-second decision that doctors said made all the difference in the shocking July 7 incident, all of which was captured on his body camera.
“It worked out really well,” Kennedy added.
A bystander had flagged down Kennedy and his partner outside 290 Lenox Ave., where they found a man bleeding heavily on the sidewalk in front of Chopped Cheese deli in central Harlem.
“Go get me a bag of potato chips, right now!” Kennedy yells at the good Samaritan, according to the video released by the department last week.
The cop then got the victim onto his back with help from other bystanders and taped the bags of Lay’s potato chips on the man’s chest, covering the puncture wound, the video shows.
“We got you, we got you, don’t touch!” the officer says in the clip. “Stay with me, stay with me! Keep breathing, bro!”
Officer David Galindez, who collared the attacker, said he thought it was “crazy” to use a chip bag, but only for a “split second.”
“I know [Kennedy] has prior EMT experience, and I knew that was going to work,” said Officer Matthew Grieve, Kennedy’s partner.
Grieve said the unusual technique had an “immediate effect.
“When [Kennedy] finished taping that thing up, this victim, he breathed right in,” he said. “Right away, [the bag] had a drastic improvement on his condition.”
Doctors later told the cops their “quick actions definitely aided in saving his life,” according to Kennedy.
Deputy Inspector Andre Brown, the commanding officer of the 28th Precinct, heralded Kennedy’s quick thinking and his ability to remain calm in the potentially fatal situation.
“Here, Officer Kennedy, who’s a volunteer fireman, utilized his EMT skills to arguably, probably save the life of this victim with something as simple as a bag of potato chips and some tape,” Brown said.
Brown commended the work of not only the three officers present but also the NYPD.
“It goes to show that, you know, NYPD officers do an array of tasks,” he said, adding that NYPD officers are “doing a remarkable job” despite the fiscal constraints imposed on the city by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Regardless [of] whether there’s money in the budget, we have to do our job whenever the call comes in … and these cops are doing it day in and day out,” Brown said.
Eric Rodriguez, 38, was arrested and charged with attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon, police said.
The victim was expected to make a full recovery.
Additional reporting by Craig McCarthy
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