Monday, February 19, 2007

Being in the Right Place at the Right Time

When I was a kid and my mother was still alive, our family normally went on some sort of Saturday outing each week, whether it was to go to the flea market, go to the mall, visit a site of historical interest, whatever.

During these trips, we usually stopped at a fast-food place to have lunch. Back in the late sixties, fast food chains did not have drive-through windows; you had to get out of the car and go into the store to get it, even if it was to go. Our habit was for my Dad or my brother to go in and get the food for everyone, including the dog if we'd brought him along that day, and we'd eat in the parked car.

On one of these typical Saturdays, we were sitting in the car eating our burgers when we saw a car on the road suddenly veer sharply to the right, which then crashed through the front window of the diner across the street.

My much older brother, who was then an operating room technician, immediately jumped out of the car, and sprinted across the street, to see if there was anything he could do to help. The rest of us followed at a more careful pace.

When he got there, the driver of the car wasn't breathing; my brother found him slumped over the wheel. No one inside the restaurant was hurt, so he focused his attention on the driver. He started CPR on the man, then known as "mouth-to-mouth resuscitation". It worked, but unfortunately the man threw up on my brother, but my brother kept it up until the ambulance arrived, when he stood aside to allow them to take over, at which time they thanked him for his help.

It turned out that the man had had a heart attack while driving, which caused him to crash into the building; his need for CPR had not been caused by the accident.

Thanks to my brother, the man was alive when the ambulance took him away, but he later died in the hospital, unfortunately.

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