Istvan Szabo - I saved a life - what I learnt from it
It happened several years ago, when I went to work. I went early morning, because I had to finish something in the office. The tram was full, I was reading something. Suddenly my attention was drawn by a strange noise. As if somebody would have been gasping, but it was louder and more abnormal. I honestly thought that it is a dog, so I did not attach to much importance to it. But it started to be gradually louder and people on the tram accumulated around it. As I am not a fun of big dogs in the public transportation, I continued reading. Eventually the tram stopped, and people started to get off, and this was the moment when I actually realized that a man is on the floor, and he made that strange noise. My first natural reactions were – as 99% of others’, who escaped the tram: “maybe drunk or a homeless under drugs, anyway who cares, I have other things to do.” Fortunately, as I consider myself a mindful person, I strive to recycle my first reactions by my emotional awareness. That person needed help, whatever happened to him and whoever he was.
Only three stayed next to him. He was laying on the ground, and we noted the he neither has breath nor pulse. I was nearly panicking. I have never experienced a moment in my life before such significant, when your decision can make a difference between life and death in the course of a few minutes. As we turned the guy on his back on the floor to be able to check his breath and pulse, I realized that he was very well dressed. He was around 55, had knitted gloves, a long grey jacket and a beret. Suddenly I saw a picture in my mind as he leaves home – as every morning – says good bye to his wife and close the door. Maybe his wife gave him those cute knitted gloves. Whatever was true, I realized that I would do everything I could to save that guy.
We called the ambulance and we gave him chest compression, three of us swapping. Chest compression is a pretty tiring task in that position, when your body is full of adrenaline, and you need to do it hard, so that the chest moves at least a few centimeters to allow air and blood circulation. And for the ambulance it took more than 10 minutes to arrive. That is like an eternal reality. Finally, they arrived, then the paramedics sent us off the tram as if we were doing something wrong. Then we disappeared. Nobody told a word, we were all shocked. In the news later in the day, I read that the man survived. We saved a life, nobody told thank you, I have not heard about the man anymore, still this is my most satisfying experience.
What did I learn from this? Never be in the autopilot-mode. Anything can happen, any time, and we have to be prepared. Most of the time it is not about life and death, but still, we can significantly improve our or others’ life if we are present….and statistically, I believe that for each of us there is one moment throughout our entire life when we can save somebody. I consider myself lucky to have experienced this early enough in my life.