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 Post subject: Have you saved a life?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:01 pm 
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Several years ago-I'm 24 now-I was in a hotel pool that was up to 5 ft 6 in deep, not as tall as me. There was a 25-year old (or so) couple with their daughter (about 6) that also got in the pool. The couple started hugging and kissing. In their heated romance, they didn't notice that their daughter had swam off to the deep end. Soon, she stopped floating, and she was completely submerged. I noticed her arms flailing around. I swam to her, and held her up above the water, as a thick stream of water spewed from her mouth. Her parents took her and tended to. Does anyone have a similar story? Firefighters, LEOs, medics, and other life-saving personnel, feel free to add in your stories, and what you did to help.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:11 pm 
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It's nice you saved a baby.

I may have lost more lives than saved... My war stories include lots of blood, guts, brains, and bones sticking out of people.

I'm going back to the shallow end of the pool.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:13 pm 
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The two that I've saved weren't worth saving, but I did it anyway because it was my duty.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:19 pm 
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pulled a friend out of the way of a moving car one time.
saved another from suicide.

not much for storytelling in those tales.

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Zombie I, girl please run away


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:24 pm 
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I worked at Canada's second largest mall as mall customer service. Basically my job was to roam around the mall, answering questions, directing people, observing and reporting things to security, backing them up, etc.

One case of backing them up was when a female patron fell into a seizure and began to vomit on her self. The mall first aid attendant, a doctor and I (at the time I was trained in industrial first aid) were working to clear her airway with what we already had on us--a lot of finger scooping. She had gone blue in the face and was trying to fight us off, but when the FFs and paramedics arrived they took her away. They told us after that if we didn't intervene she would have died. We kept her alive long enough.

As for my standby gigs (now trained as an EMR), I tend to a lot of boo-boos. But there are a lot of times where I've called an ambulance for things rather serious and stabilized the PT before transport.

In my personal life, I knew a fair lot of suicidal people (friends and acquaintances..I know a lot of people..maybe too many) where I've had to stop them physically.

Don't know if those count but there you go.

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Last edited by DocMartin on Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:27 pm 
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Talked a girl out of killing herself once. As in literally talked her into walking away from the edge of the cliff she was going to jump off of. That scared the piss out of me.

May have saved a life by getting someone who had chest pain medical attention.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:29 pm 
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I've been known to save a few.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:40 pm 
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BigBossMan wrote:
The two that I've saved weren't worth saving, but I did it anyway because it was my duty.

John I think this is a typical response from First Responders. There is reason for our gallows humor.


Last edited by lo jack on Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:43 pm 
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I blocked a toddler from running into the street in front of a speeding cab a few weeks ago.

Assisted with CPR that kept an old man alive for another few months.

Other than that, I don't know.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:44 pm 
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A couple of months back I had to do a heimlich on my kid, little chunk of sammich was stuck in there. Pretty scary, no sounds, no coughing, just hands in mouth, trying to reach it & red face. If my wife had not been looking right at her... not sure if I would have noticed :?

When I was much younger, I intervened when a small gang was beating a kid with rocks & a muffler pipe. Not sure if they were going to kill him, but as it was he needed 30 stitches on the scalp & had a decent concussion.

Other than that, a few migh be/maybes.

Btw, thanks to all you guys who do it for a living!

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:46 pm 
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Yes.
Apparently, if you have no emotional connection to the person, there isn't a choir of angels, nor do you feel like a super hero, or any urge to brag about it. Dunno, I thought it would be more awesome than is is.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:53 pm 
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lo jack wrote:
BigBossMan wrote:
The two that I've saved weren't worth saving, but I did it anyway because it was my duty.

John I think this is a typical response from First Responders. There is a reason for our gallows humor.

I did jump off a bridge into a river to rescue a suicide jumper once. And kicked in the door of a burning apartment building (fully engulfed) to drag out an unconscious woman (crackhead prostitute) passed out from smoke inhalation. And neither one of those people were worth saving, but I did it anyway because it was my job.

Just a couple off the top of my head.


I found a rapist hanging in his cell and cut him down and a child molester who was bleeding out in the showers from his slashed wrist. I don't really think of it as gallows humor so much as cold, hard fact.

But I do understand where you're coming from. We do what we do because we signed on for the job. At least you get to help decent members of society every once in a while and can take some joy in that.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:04 pm 
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I saved my oldest daughter when she was 3 from choking on some food once. Her and I were home eating dinner and I noticed a very worried look on her reddening face. I knew right away that she was choking. 2 swift hits to the back popped out a chewed up piece of chicken.

Both my girls and I were in the hotel pool on vacation. I was trying to teach my oldest (7 at the time) how to swim, and I let my youngest (3 at the time) play on the pool steps. With my attention focused on my oldest for only a minute, I look over to see that my youngest had stepped off the steps and was under water. I grabbed her by the arm and had her up out of the water within a couple seconds.

In both instances they were just fine...they (and I) were just a little shaken.
I dont see either as a heroic action...more of my parental duty. I was the only adult with them during those times, so yes, they surely would have died if I had done nothing or been less-attentive, but I'm no hero. Just a Dad.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:37 pm 
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I'm told I did once... A friend was overdosed on ketamine...they call it a k-hole? (I've tried a few things, but I never did ketamine myself, I've got experience giving it to pets as anaesthetic and was not and am not interested in it recreationally.) She tells me that the care I gave at that time somehow kept her from completing the journey to the other side. I have no way of knowing if this is accurate from a medical standpoint. I do know that anaesthesia is a controlled form of death (and coming back, obviously...usually) and ketamine is indeed an anaesthetic drug, but I don't have any medical stats on her condition at the time, as it was in an informal setting.

Another time, and another person, this one an acquaintance. He had overdosed on GHB (another drug I never tried and don't want to), got dumped on his doorstep after the people he was with were done with him, and was doing cheynes-stokes. I sat by his bedside, and every time he'd get too deep and stop breathing for more than 20 seconds or so I would wake him up and he'd start again with that sudden big, startled wake-up breath. Did this for maybe an hour and a half, until the drug wore down and his breathing normalized into heavy sleep. I don't know for sure if he would or would not have stopped breathing for good if I wasn't there, but I know he lived through it. I know for certain that other people who overdose on GHB wake up either 1) dead, 2) the next day, robbed of all their possessions and with a sore bum, or 3) with an ET tube in place. I never saw him afterward...as far as I know he did not change his behavior and is now in much worse case than he was back then in 2001. I doubt he remembers it, or me.


Sort of like I think Krustofski was saying, I've had other life experiences that have left me much more humbled or awed or proud than these....

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:21 pm 
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I'm a suicide counselor of 10+ years, so yes. Lost a couple. Those are the ones I remember.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:35 pm 
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I was successful once and I failed once. The successful case was an 11 year old boy who was choking on a McNugget at a McDonalds. I was eating there at the same time when the kids' mother starts panicking and calling for help. Mostly people stood around like slack jawed yokels - including restaurant employees. I went over, saw what was happening - the boy's airway was completely blocked and I did the Heimlich maneuver on him. On the second thrust the half-chewed Mcnugget flew out of his mouth. The failed attempt was about almost exactly a year ago - a co-worker went into seizure at my office (I was the only other one there). After making sure that he wasn't going to his his head on anything, I called 911. While on the phone he went limp and had no pulse or breathing. I did CPR until the fire department and paramedics arrived but they were unable to revive him. It turns out that he as a diabetic with hypertension and had suffered a massive stroke. There was nothing that I could have done but I did beat myself up over it for a while. I will say that when I posted details of the event here, the responses that I received helped me to deal with it. If you haven't experienced seeing a person die right before your eyes, you're lucky. It's a hell of a thing that really makes you contemplate your own mortality.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:52 pm 
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lo jack wrote:
BigBossMan wrote:
The two that I've saved weren't worth saving, but I did it anyway because it was my duty.

John I think this is a typical response from First Responders. There is a reason for our gallows humor.

I did jump off a bridge into a river to rescue a suicide jumper once. And kicked in the door of a burning apartment building (fully engulfed) to drag out an unconscious woman (crackhead prostitute) passed out from smoke inhalation. And neither one of those people were worth saving, but I did it anyway because it was my job.

Just a couple off the top of my head.


Just one of the reasons I'm not in Law Enforcement anymore. I have no desire to save anybody that has no desire to save themselves. Stopping a suicide is not saving a life, so please don't pat yourself on the back for it.

edit: This is not directed at anybody in particular, just a personal observation of how I view society.

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Last edited by Keith B on Wed Dec 08, 2010 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:56 pm 
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There have been a few times that I have done first aid when it was needed, until someone more qualified showed up. Whether or not it was life and death- I don't know, but I did what I could. There was the time my best friend who has depression tried to slit his wrists while camping. I talked him out of it and asked him for the knife. He could have really 'given it to me', if you know what I mean. We were miles from town and farther from the closet hospital.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 7:23 pm 
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At Fort Polk in 1967 we had massive riots the night we finished AIT .
This was the time of rioting in Detroit , Kent State etc .
I was on KP and as I was hosing out the pots and pans behind the mess hall I hear this plaintive little .... help help .
So I walk over to the source and here are four guys kicking the shit out of our trainee platoon leader .
I say" guys guys hey I don't like this dude either ,but you don't want to kill him do you ? So the big dude says "why don't we just do you instead " . I'm like stammering and stuttering and this guy I know with the group steps up and says "no leave Joe alone he's a partner ."
Next day I see the platoon leader and he's all bandaged up , he looks at me and doesn't say anything . I thought yeah you little SOB thanks a lot .

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:10 pm 
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I have been part of the temporary emergency foster care army (as well as center volunteer) for the Crisis Nursery in the area I was living in at the time. Basically, it was a place where parents in crisis could leave their babies and toddlers for up to 48 hours, no questions asked (they also could get hooked up with services as needed as well). While of course, probably a parent who is coherent enough to know when to seek emergency help wouldn't have killed their kids--I have had many women say to me that they thought about killing themselves and having that service helped them get back into a less primal/adrenaline driven space. So I do think indirectly I have saved lives.

I did other foster care too, though most of the kids I got had been in the system for awhile. There are a few teens (well, some of them them are in their late twenties now, that's scary!) who claim I helped them save their own lives. Some big failures too.

On the more medical-y side, I did have to stab a kid with an epi-pen once when I was a preschool teacher, because they were starting to react to a trace of peanuts very severely. I don't really remember a whole lot of that, other than the feelings--I'd just as soon not have to do anything like that again.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:20 pm 
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A few in my short time in Fire/EMS/SAR. Lost quite a few also, so I guess it's a wash. Kustofski, I think you hit the nail on the head.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:47 pm 
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I rolled a stone drunk girl over on her side moments before she vomited. Nobody else was even paying attention. She didn't choke on vomit, so I think that counts.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:06 pm 
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Location: someware sneeking up behind you......BOO!!
Yep, a few times.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:39 am 
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Twice.

First, when I was 20ish, saved a girl from drowning when she blacked out diving into a pool. No biggie, I was just the first one to see she wasn't moving after hitting the water.

Second, when I was around 28-29, saved another girl from drowning in a lake. She nearly killed me by pulling me under. I could hold my breath for a long time and was an extremely strong under water swimmer, otherwise I wouldn't be here. There's a good thread in the forum on how to save a drowning person the right way and wrong way. I did it the wrong way. It's worth the search.

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