Natatia Bledsoe is the public information officer for the Fredericksburg Police Department.
Sometimes a Hero lives right next door
On Friday, April 27, around lunchtime, Bob Miller got up from the seat in his front room to retrieve something out of the icebox, then glanced out the window and saw a man running across his neighbor’s front yard. Since that seemed unusual, he took a closer look outside and saw another man collapsed on the curb in front of his neighbor’s house in College Heights.
Bob rushed outside. He recognized the man on the ground as William*, the man who has been cutting the grass for his neighbor Betty, an elderly widow, for more than ten years.
The man Bob had seen running was William’s son, and he had just gotten off the phone with 911 and sprinted back to his father but he didn’t know how to perform CPR.
Bob took a CPR class many years ago, and he took over. He already knew that help was on the way, so Bob followed the remaining critical steps from his CPR training.
- Survey the scene. The weed-eater that William had been operating was still running, so Bob turned it off and moved it out of the way.
- Assess the patient. Bob quickly checked and found that William was unconscious, not breathing, and without a discernible pulse.
- Start CPR. Bob began chest compressions and rescue breathing.
Very soon after Bob started CPR, police officer Jamie Walker arrived and took over chest compressions, followed in less than a minute by Fredericksburg’s professional EMS and Fire personnel. With their advanced training and skills, coupled with life-saving equipment, the Fire and EMS providers were able to restore William’s breathing and stabilize his heart rhythm before transporting him to the emergency room. He was transferred to a room in ICU later in the day.
The American Heart Association says that the best chance of surviving a cardiac emergency requires early CPR and medical intervention. But when that cardiac emergency occurs outside of a hospital setting, then sometimes the best chance of survival depends on someone like Bob, who was willing and able to help save a life.
Bob told me that he doesn’t know William well at all; they’ve just had a few worldly wise conversations while William took care of the landscaping for various older neighbors. He said he jokingly gave William a hard time once for working on a holiday.
When I asked Bob how he felt about what happened today, he said “I just had to do something, even if he does vote Republican.”
*Name changed to protect his privacy