Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, New York Medical College
Volunteer, Critical Care Emergency Medical Technician with Hatzalah Ambulance Corps
Since 2015, Adam D. Hammerman by day has donned the raiment of the high-powered executive as chief financial officer of New York Medical College in Valhalla. But at day’s end, reminiscent of another handsome, broad-shouldered hero from Metropolis, he sheds his business suit in favor of a different kind of uniform.
Sure, as CFO, Hammerman has helped save NYMC millions of dollars, but as a 30-year volunteer critical-care emergency medical technician, he’s also saved countless lives.
“When I was 18, the Hatzalah Ambulance Corps was forming, and they approached me and my father about becoming members,” he shares. The two declined. (“We didn’t need someone’s life in our hands.”) Soon after, Hammerman and his father encountered a car-accident victim and, feeling powerless to assist him, had a change of heart. “We said to each other, ‘We need to learn what we can do to help,’” Hammerman says. Together, they signed up for Hatzalah.
Being on-call 24/7 for decades means Hammerman (who’s served in Westchester, Riverdale, Manhattan, Queens, and Rockland County) has been present at some of the region’s biggest disasters. He helped triage and evacuate people from Ground Zero on 9/11 and was the first ambulance on the scene when Captain Chesley Sullenberger pulled off the “Miracle on the Hudson” in his Airbus A320.
The hardest part of volunteering with Hatzalah, Hammerman says, “are those three a.m. calls, when you’re in your warm bed.” Yet he always answers: “Sometimes we can give the patient just a little bit more, give them that feeling we’re holding their hand just a few more seconds.”
On the coronavirus: “EMTs are trained to follow a key rule: When a patient is in cardiac arrest, take your own pulse first. In other words: Don’t panic. I have applied this approach to many facets of life, including this one.”