Upstate New York Judge Dies After Having a Heart Attack on the Bench

By Wire Service Content

A judge in upstate New York died after suffering a heart attack in his courtroom.

Putnam County Court Judge James Reitz had just finished a case on the bench on the morning of June 14 when he asked a court officer for help.

“They were getting ready to call the next case when Reitz said to the court officer that was with him, ‘John, I think I need you to help me here,'” Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell told CNN.

Reitz then collapsed. The officer performed CPR on the judge until he was taken by ambulance to the hospital, Odell said. The hospital worked on him for about 30 to 45 minutes before he was pronounced dead. He was 57.

Reitz had been a judge in Putnam County since 2007, according to the New York Law Journal. Before that, he was a lawyer with a private practice.

Reitz was known for his drug court program, which offered people whose crimes were related to addiction an opportunity to seek treatment and avoid prison.

Upstate New York judge
Putnam County Court Judge James Reitz. (Putman County via CNN)

Terrence Murphy, a former New York state senator, told CNN he worked with Reitz often on the drug court. Murphy was chair of the New York State Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction.

“He ran the best drug court in New York state,” Murphy said. “He literally saved people’s lives. He’s an iconic person and will be sorely missed. Our professional relationship went beyond, into personal friendship, with him and his wife Barbara. I’m still in shock.”

Odell said the death of Reitz was a loss to the community.

“He was a giant among men in this community. We will be feeling his loss for a very long time,” Odell said. “I personally lost a dear friend and Putnam County lost a dedicated public servant whose passion was helping anyone who needed help.”

6 Potential Warning Signs

You can recognize early signs of a potential heart attack even one month prior to the actual attack.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 790,000 Americans suffer a heart attack every year. Learning the warning signs of an impending heart attack could very well save you or your loved ones from an early death. The sooner you get help, the better your chance of survival. The symptoms can vary from person to person and may not seem severe. It’s okay to call for an ambulance; after all, a false alarm is the best thing that could happen. If you experience any of the following warning signs, please see your doctor as soon as possible.

1. Fatigue and Weakness

If simple chores like going grocery shopping or climbing stairs suddenly tire you out, you shouldn’t ignore it. Fatigue and weakness can be the result of the heart not getting enough blood if the arteries have become too narrow; this can result in a heart attack.

2. Chest Pressure

Pressure, tightness, palpitations, as well as chest, back, neck, jaw, or arm pain should not be ignored. They can be signs the blood supply has become restricted. Even if the pain seems minor, if there is no explanation for it, you should have it checked out.

3. Breathlessness

If you are experiencing this symptom, it could mean that due to reduced blood flow, less carbon dioxide in the blood is exchanged for fresh oxygen in your lungs. This leads to shortness of breath. If you experience difficulties in breathing on a regular basis, it could be a warning of an impending heart attack.

4. Lethargy

If you experience severe weakness and a total lack of energy, it could be a sign of an impending heart attack. Extreme tiredness is often one of the first warning signs of a heart attack.

5. Dizziness and Cold Sweat

Feeling dizzy and breaking out in a cold sweat can be caused by not enough blood nourishing the brain due to poor circulation. Such symptoms need to be checked out immediately by your doctor.

6. Cold and Flu Symptoms

Pain in the joints and muscles, severe headaches, a sore throat, or nasal cavity congestion can often appear about a month before a heart attack. These flu-like symptoms can be a sign your body is fighting to improve blood flow. Don’t wait around and wonder; go see your doctor for a diagnosis.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

Epoch Times reporter Chris Ford contributed to this article.

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