I met another lawyer for lunch to discuss working together on FTCA medical malpractice cases. Afterwards, I ran a couple of errands then headed home where I would finish my work day.
As I was driving along Monument Avenue (a grand street in Richmond), out of the corner of my eye I saw what looked like a person falling on the opposite sidewalk. I made a u-turn at the next intersection. Sure enough, there was a someone lying on the sidewalk.
I got out of my car and ran to this elderly woman. She was unconscious, but breathing. While she had some nasty scrapes on one side of her face, there did not appear to be any major bleeding.
On my cell phone I called 911. As I was doing so, someone else stopped. She was a nurse. I was relieved to have her expertise.
From the time I placed the 911 call, it took only four minutes for the fire truck and ambulance to get there. The woman was reviving a bit by then. My role was done so I thanked the nurse and the EMT's and went on my way.
Afterwards, I had several thoughts:
While we often malign government functions - and there is often good reason to do so, especially in places like the City of Richmond - first responders like the ones who came to this scene provide a vital service for all of us. We need to appreciate them and we need to show that appreciation as voters by making sure they are treated right.
There is still part of me that marvels about being able to make calls almost anywhere from a device that weighs ounces and fits in the palm of my hand. Well into my adult lifetime, I would have been forced to pound on doors to get someone to call an ambulance. Technology can be a mixed blessing, but this is one instance where it was 100% a blessing. We should be grateful.
As I drove home, I had the terrifying thought of what I would have done if the woman had NOT been breathing. After all, it could well have been a heart attack that brought her down. I was trained in basic CPR but that was a long time ago when I was in the military. I need a refresher and I will try to find one today. It's probably a good idea for most people to get some training. Lives can be saved. We should all be prepared for such events.
Finally, this incident was a pointed reminder that we are all connected. We should try hard to to love our neighbors as ourselves. In my book, that's one of the basic rules. Yes, I know I am getting close to raising issues of faith and other such dangerous topics. So be it.