By THOMAS TRACY and LARRY MCSHANE
New York Daily News | March 6, 2021
The world changed in a horrifying heartbeat for a Brooklyn paramedic.
FDNY EMS veteran Jenna Piscitello was helping a drug-addled teen onto a stretcher when she went suddenly from rescuer to victim, targeted in a nightmarish moment where the deranged patient chewed through her left cheek in a disfiguring attack.
“I could feel her teeth digging into my flesh,” recounted Piscitello, 28, as she recovered Saturday in her Staten Island home. “It was almost a stunned feeling … I looked and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, she took a chunk of my face off.’”
Piscitello recalled seeing blood when her face mask fell off during the 2 a.m. Friday assault, with the looks of her shaken colleagues indicating the vicious attack had crossed into Hannibal Lecter territory. She needed four stitches to close the gaping wound, and scheduled an upcoming visit with a plastic surgeon after pieces of flesh were torn from her cheek.
“I’m holding up as best I can,” she said. “It was a very traumatic experience. Physically, my face is deformed. I’m not pleasant to look at. Emotionally, I’m very drained. But I have the support of my family, friends and co-workers.”
The daughter of Italian immigrants actually continued working on the oft-arrested 17-year-old victim after the biting, with both landing in NYU-Langone Brooklyn for treatment. The teen, who was not identified because of her age, faces a charge of felony assault.
The arrest was the suspect’s latest run-in with the law, as her rap sheet includes prior arrests including grand larceny, burglary and assault, law enforcement sources told the Daily News.
The incident marked the third biting incident targeting a member of FDNY EMS in a single week. And EMS union officials said a dozen of its members were attacked over the same span — including 15-year veteran Josh Schwartz, whose nose was broken and glasses shattered by a hard foot to the face during another bizarre assault last Sunday.
The “super aggressive” girlfriend of a patient exploded in a foul-mouthed rage as the emergency medical technician tried to load her boyfriend in an ambulance, with the woman running up the ambulance steps to deliver the boot, Schwartz told The News.
“My head was down near her knee,” said Schwartz, still suffering a week later from migraines and vision problems. “I turned to ask another unit to call the cops when she kicked me in the face in a downward stomping motion. I got my bell rung.”
Suspect Sheena Meeks, 27, was charged with assault, obstruction of government administration and harassment before she was released without bail pending an May court date.
Piscitello, who plans to take a few weeks off before returning to the job, said she wants justice for herself and her fellow EMTs and paramedics. And while she’s willing to forgive, she can’t forget the gruesome and unprovoked attack that turned a routine call into a lingering living hell.
“I didn’t go around eating people’s faces,” she said.