Sgt. Herb Koenig, a grand jury warden and officer of the Manhattan Supreme Court who also acted as a first aid expert during hundreds of medical crisis, is set to retire after a 30-year career.
By Shayna Jacobs / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Manhattan Supreme Court is losing its best in-house life saver.
Resident first aid expert Sgt. Herb Koenig, a grand jury warden and officer in felony court who has attended to hundreds in need during courthouse medical crises, retired this week after a 30-year career.
Over the decades, judges, defendants, court officers and other visitors were treated by Koenig, who was long ago dubbed “Doc” by his colleagues — a nickname that stuck for good because of the chops he gained as a city EMT before changing fields in 1983.
“I was the only EMT in the building,” said Koenig. “Any time somebody got hurt or sick, from the judges to the defendants, they called me.”
He recalled treating the late Justice Harold Rothwax when he passed out in the courtroom in the late 1980s. The judge was in shock and needed oxygen.
“I’ve done everything from an almost child birth … (to) a lot of injuries in the courthouse. People passing out, cardiac emergencies,” said Koenig, 55, of Marine Park. “Once in a while, you have a defendant who tries to hurt himself.”
Koenig likely saved the life of a teenager having a heart attack in the courtroom, according to Patricia Lawrie, his longtime friend and clerk.
Lawrie, who was a sergeant alongside Koenig in the early 1990s, noticed an ashen and slumped over teen needing medical attention.
“I thought he was already dead,” she recalled. “The kid, subsequently, was okay, but if it hadn’t been for Doc coming as quickly as he did, with the oxygen, that kid would have died.”
Lawrie said Koenig’s example made the administration recognize the need for an EMT on site. Without his rendering of first aid, she said, “they never would have thought of it.”
Koenig worked security during high-profile cases. He was seen in news footage alongside “Preppy Killer” Robert Chambers in 1986 while on security detail during perp walks to the courtroom.
While the Doc was always on call, he had also supervised grand jury operations since January.