On a staff development day, I went out for lunch with a fellow teacher. We walked into a Roberto’s Taco Shop to find people standing in line waiting to order, people eating and an older woman sprawled out in one of the bench seats passed out. We looked around. Everyone was acting like things were fine. We asked if the lady was okay. No one really knew. The guys working in the shop thought she was just sleeping.
My friend noticed that the woman had one of those hospital wristbands on her arm. She also had left her purse and cell phone out on the table.
So I started tapping on the woman’s shoulder and shouted, “Are you okay? Are you okay?”
My eyes got real big, and I started to get scared.
I tapped a little harder and shouted even louder, “Are you okay? Are you okay?”
It took a few times before she was roused from her inert state.
There was definitely something wrong. Her speech did not sound right, she thought she was at a different restaurant and she was rambling about having a procedure done at the hospital and that she hadn’t gotten any sleep. We called 911 to be safe. The paramedics arrived before she left, but she refused their services. It was frightening to watch her drive off knowing she was not well.
It can be difficult to be the first person to decide to react to a situation that is uncomfortable. It’s even harder when you are around other people. We often wait for someone else to initiate a response. It seems to be a part of our subconscious wiring.
I believe that if you determine ahead of time that you are going to be the person who will react in a situation like this, you will. It may take a few minutes to react, but you will know that you need to do something.
Helping someone in an emergency situation can be scary. Although I highly encourage people to get trained in First Aid, CPR, and AED, I know many people don’t feel comfortable with carrying this out for a stranger. What I do ask though, is that everyone have the courage to be the person who calls 911. Be the person to find help for the person in need.
Here’s something else to think about. According to the American Heart Association, 88% of cardiac emergencies happen at home. Also, “effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival. If you obtain training in CPR, First Aid, and AED, you will be better prepared to help a loved one who may suddenly suffer a life threatening event. You could be the difference between life and death for that person.
If you are interested in learning more please visit these sites:
American Heart Association, www.heart.org
-Offers hands-only CPR training
American Red Cross, www.redcross.org
*CPR & Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Fact Sheet, American Heart Association, as of June, 2011: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/CPRAndECC/WhatisCPR/CPRFactsandStats/CPR-Statistics_UCM_307542_Article.jsp#mainContent