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MBTA’s CPR teacher saves man, 24

Victim collapsed at Wollaston

A 24-year-old Quincy man was on his way to work last week when he suddenly went into cardiac arrest, passed out, and tumbled down a flight of stairs at the MBTA’s Wollaston Station, Transit Police said.

After seeing the fall, Karen Kane, an MBTA customer service agent, ran to Kevin Bossart’s aid. She saw he had head injuries and was unconscious, Transit Police said.

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Tomas Gonzales, an MBTA CPR training instructor, was also in the station that day to pitch in with a cold weather issue. Kane called for him, and he immediately started administering CPR.

Bossart suffers from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a genetic condition known for causing sudden cardiac deaths. He had been diagnosed, but never experienced any symptoms.

But, on Jan. 27, officers found him unresponsive and gasping for air, Transit Police said.

Shortly after Gonzales started CPR, Quincy firefighters and Fallon Ambulance responders arrived and took over.

After Bossart was taken to Quincy Medical Center, Gonzales was told his condition was not good, he said.

“I was very depressed that he wasn’t going to make it,” Gonzales said in a phone interview Tuesday.

But then Bossart took a turn for the better. Medical responders were able to continue working on his heart and eventually it began beating normally.

“Everyone keeps saying that if I wasn’t there, he wouldn’t have made it,” said Gonzales, 46, of Dedham. “But I think what we have is a case of a very amazing 24-year-old who was able to come back to life.”

Bossart was transferred to Brigham and Women’s Hospital later that week, where he remains in critical condition, Transit Police said.

After hearing about the response at the T station, Bossart’s parents wanted to meet the man they credit with saving their son’s life. They contacted the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and on Monday they connected.

Bossart’s father “drove up [to the Wollaston station] and asked me where he could find Tomas Gonzales,” said Gonzales. “When I told him that was me, he hopped out of the car, grabbed me up, and gave me a big hug.”

Bossart’s parents said their son is back to being the “old Kevin.” He’s itching to get out of his hospital bed and back to his regular workout regimen and job. They also said he has been craving a steak and cheese submarine sandwich.

“I think that’s a very good sign,” said Gonzales, who said he plans to visit Bossart in the hospital after he is released from intensive care.

Bossart’s friends have set up a GoFundMe fund-raising page to help the Bossarts cover medical expenses and insurance costs. By Tuesday afternoon, the page had raised nearly $29,000.

Bossart’s family continues to be optimistic and appreciative of all the help they have received.

“Without their initial efforts, we wouldn’t be able to continue with the care that Kevin is now receiving, and we’re looking forward to his continued recovery,” his mother, Trish Bossart, wrote in a statement released Tuesday.

Gonzales said he is no hero.

“We just want to make sure people get home safe,” he said.

Jacqueline Tempera can be reached at jacqueline.tempera
@globe.com
. Follow her on twitter @jacktemp.
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