Social Question

Jeruba's avatar

Have you ever saved someone's life?

Asked by Jeruba (51542points) July 29th, 2010

Not metaphorically helping someone out of a tight spot. I mean literally: intervened between someone and certain or virtually certain death.

If so, please tell us about it. What were the circumstances, what did you do, and what happened afterward?

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21 Answers

perspicacious's avatar

Yes, a number of times I’ve pulled my daughter and other kids off of the bottom of our pool

WestRiverrat's avatar

I was a medic for many years, I have done it a few times.

TexasDude's avatar

Talked down a few inevitable suicides and I administered first aid a few times.

Pandora's avatar

I had a neighbor who was acting strange. She was very depressed and she called me to ask me to check in on the kids later on because she wasn’t feeling well. I went right over and when I saw she was kind of out of it. When I insisted on taking her to the hospital she admitted she had taking a bunch of sleeping pills. She was trying to commit suicide. I called 911 and they told me what to do to keep her awake till they got there.
The next day I gave her a long lecture on the legacy she would’ve given to her children. She said her dad had committed suicide when she was a child and was stunned that it was probably the legacy he had left her. She was a very loving mom and she needed help.
Afterwards she was getting help and was happier but our relationship suffered. She was greatful that I saved her but embarrassed that she attempted something so horrible that could harm her children in the future. We lost touch after she moved.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Like @WestRiverrat I too was a medic. I can only honestly say I prolonged life. I can’t tell you if I saved a life.
Unfortunately, so far, the memories and dreams have lasted a lifetime.

Seek's avatar

My son was attacked by our dogs – first the dachshund, then the (we later realised) brain-damaged pit bull joined in. He was only 7 months old at the time. I went Superman and threw the pit across the backyard, yanked my son away from both of them by his arm and bolted into the house. He doesn’t have any lasting scars or injuries.

anartist's avatar

Yes, when I was too young to even know what I was doing. When I was about 9 one cold winter my friend Jackie Peverill and I were on the ice of the Merrimac River in Massachusetts. There was a Christmas tree that was thrown onto the ice. We kept kicking the tree further out onto the River ice.and suddenly the ice broke and Jackie fell in. Kids must know something adults don’t because instead of walking over to pull her out [and probably breaking more ice and falling in myself] or running off to get help, I lay down on the ice and pushed the Christmas tree towards her. She used it to pull herself out and we got off that ice as fast as we could and snuck into her family’s laundry room and put her clothes in the dryer so her parents would not know that we had been bad and gone on the river ice.

Austinlad's avatar

Yes. I was living in New York in a tiny apartment in the East Village that backed up against the apartment of a friend I had know in Texas. He was an actor, Gay and a big drinker, and one night he picked up two guys and brought them back to his place. Basically what happened was, they tied him, knocked him and started ransacking his apartment. I heard a racket and heard muffled voices, but I assumed he was just having a party. All of a sudden I head a long groan (my friend was coming to) and immediately knew something was wrong. I started pounding on the wall and yelling his name. Before I could do anything else, I heard his door burst open and the sound of feet running. When I heard the apartment building door open and slam closed, I ran into my friend’s apartment and saw that he and his dog (a beautiful Whippet) were bleeding. I got my friend untied and calmed down, and that’s when he told me that at the moment I started yelling, these two animals were about to kill him and his dog with a large knife.

tranquilsea's avatar

When my oldest son was 18 months old we were down at the beach. I was talking with my mom when I noticed he had run right into the ocean and was toppled by a giant wave. I was 9 months pregnant but I didn’t even think. I kicked off my sandals and sprinted down the beach. He was upside down in the water when I splashed into the ocean and scooped him up. He threw up a lot of water, coughed and coughed and then cried. I cut my knee and pulled my groin and waited to go into labour but, thankfully, I didn’t. It was the single most terrifying moment of my life.

Afos22's avatar

@perspicacious You pulled your daughter off of the bottom of the pool a number of times? You shouldn’t let her swim anymore.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

I was 10 years old at the time. i was swimming with this 5 year old girl. she was in this floaty thing meant for 1 year olds. she jokingly strapped herself in. she leaned to one side. it tipped over and she was upside down under water. i tipped it right side up and pulled her out. i pulled her to the deck. she was only under for a little bit so didn’t require c.p.r. her mom saw what happened and immediately hugged her daughter. a few hours passed and i never got a thank you. i didn’t want to be on the news or invited to an expensive dinner. i just wanted to be thanked. I am glad to have the honor of saying that i saved a little girls life.

my brother had a cast on his hand and we went swimming. he took one wrong step and fell under. i saved him. this wasn’t his first time almost drowning. mom, my older sister, my oldest brother, and one of his friends have all saved him from drowning.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Well, when my son was 13, he got bitten thru his thumb by a stray kitten. He & his friend had been in the kitchen making some sandwiches for their lunch & after they had eaten, they went back outside. When they went out they saw a kitten in the yard that did not belong to anyone we knew in the immediate area. However, there was a new girl who had moved in up the road & she was quite pretty (the kids called her ‘Yankee’ because of her accent from where she had moved). She had several cats (seems like everyone had cats!) & my son & his friend decided that the unknown kitten must be one of hers & decided that they would return it to her (it would give them an opportunity to talk to her & maybe make a good impression). My son caught it & when he picked it up, it bit him all the way thru his thumb & he dropped it & it ran off. I took him to the doctor – I was worried because I have had cats all of my life & this kittens behavior just did not seem quite right. The doctor cleaned the bite & treated it & gave him a tetnus shot & told me not to worry about it, that the kitten had probably bitten him because it was hungry & could smell lunch meat on my son’s hands. I was still worried & I called the City of Waxahachie & requested that I be allowed to use one of their traps to catch the kitten. I was told that I could not because I lived outside the city limits – that I could go & buy one. I was angry & I called a friend & asked if she still had one & I borrowed it from her. It took me a day or so to catch the kitten & I put food & water in the trap with it – but the kitten did not try to eat or drink. The kitten cried out steadily & seemed to be both hungry & thirsty, but could/would not eat or drink. By the next day it was dead. This really scared me. So I took it to our vet & out vet sent the kitten’s head to Austin & it was verified that it had died of Rabies. We got the report back with just 12 hours left to get the Rabies shots started for my son. If I had not followed-thru on my instincts, my son would have died. As it was it caused my doctor to really rethink his actions (scared the dickens out him!) & I wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper stating that I had been denied the use of a trap to catch the rabid kitten (by the head of the Waxahachie Health Dept.) because I lived outside of the city limits & I told everyone what had happened & how close it had been to causing my son’s death. My letter prompted the city to dismiss this individual from his job & he had to move out of town because people were so angry. My son did not stop loving cats even though he had this close call & neither did the rest of us – we still have & love cats. My son is a participant here on fluther – so you can see he survived quite well :-)

Jeruba's avatar

When I was in the early grades I often dawdled on the way to school and was sometimes late just for the sake of some fallen leaves or some snow or an attractively climbable tree. My way to school took me past a small pond that we skated on in winter.

One day when I was about 7, I must have dilly-dallied long enough that there was no one around but me passing the half-frozen pond. A little boy, perhaps too young for school, was sliding out onto the ice. I saw the ice break beneath him, saw him sink and come up flailing and yelling. I ran as fast as I could go toward the school and passed a driveway where a man was opening his garage door. I yelled at him to come quickly and help. He grabbed a ladder out of his garage and ran to the pond. I saw him lie down on the ice, flat on his stomach, and lay out the ladder, stretching it across the thin ice toward the boy. I saw the boy grab onto the rung nearest him and slowly pull himself up onto the ice. The man hauled him in. After that I didn’t stick around; I was late enough already.

I do remember explaining my lateness to the teacher, convincingly, I hope, but I don’t remember if I ever told my parents about the incident. Once it was over, that was the end of it.

I also saved my son from choking on a toy, and once I performed an inexact but effective Heimlich maneuver on my friend in a restaurant.

Funny, though, I have never thought of myself as a life saver until this question occurred to me.

truecomedian's avatar

I saved a chinese boy from being run over by my boss. We were doing about forty in a Mercedes ML320 down a busy car lined road in China town. I saw a woman giving the “come here” motion on the other side of the street, in that split second I recalled she had a son, and that she was motioning to him, and by the time she gave a second wave, I had my foot on the brakes. My boss, being drunk, hit me in the arm and asked why I did that. Then he got out and began yelling at the mother as people gathered. The kids shoes were pinned under the tire and had each made a small skid. I was an unsong hero that day because my boss took credit for the slamming on the brakes. I took my unusually fast reaction time to be a sign from a higher power. I gave him my two weeks notice after that. Mistake.

Cruiser's avatar

As a life guard in college I saw the life guard at the deep end slowly climb down from her chair and started walking around her chair and it looked to me like she was removing her jewelry. I knew something wasn’t right as it was not time to rotate. A minute later I see the supervisor run out of his office and does a running dive to the bottom of the pool. I race over to see what was up and he is dragging this limp body to the side of the pool. We yank him up on the deck and no vitals…he was a black man pale as me. The supervisor was out of breath and he gasped for me to start mouth to mouth.

My first chest inflation caused a gyser of his stomach contents to erupt in my face…..the second breath did the same…we turned him on his side and gallons of water poured from his mouth. I re-started more mouth to mouth, the super did his chest compressions….we kept this up for 10 minutes at least…we both we looking at each other fearing the worst…when just like on TV his chest arched up he rolled over and vomited some more….HS he was alive!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes…it really worked we saved that mans life. He was in serious shape though unconscious…involuntary convulsions…then the paramedics finally showed up and I collapsed on the deck exhausted. I found out later he did survive but was in ICU for a week with 3rd degree chemical burns in his lungs.

That girl life guard I realized had panicked, she shut down in the face of that emergency and she was our most senior life guard. Panic is a powerful debilitating emotion.

That was 30 years ago and it was like it happened an hour ago.

Buttonstc's avatar

During my college years I worked as a camp counselor. The incident happened down at the dock where a couple of older kids were horsing around and knocked one of the smaller kids off into pretty deep water.

I was quite a distance up the beach but the child looked pretty small and I didn’t know whether he could swim or not.

I had my Red Cross Lifeguard training even tho I never specifically worked as one so instinct just took over and I just ran over and jumped in to get him.

He wasn’t a swimmer and had caught quite a few lungfuls of water in all his flailing around.

But he was a gutsy little kid and didn’t just go down without a fight. So he didn’t really need CPR but it was fortunate that I caught the incident out of the corner of my eye and got there quickly.

How did I feel afterwards ? Both furious (at the stupidity of the kids who knocked him in) and shaking like a leaf.

They got suspended from the waterfront (there was a strict rule about no running or playing on the docks) and it took me a few days to calm down from the sheer terror of what might have been.

Definitely not an experience I’d look forward to having again. But it did instill in me the certain knowledge that when you’re dealing with young children, you can’t take anything for granted. Horrible things can happen in a heartbeat.

Austinlad's avatar


perspicacious's avatar

@Afos22 My kids are now grown. One of my daughters was a wild toddler and had no fear of anything. She jumped in the deep end of four pools I can think of and ran off the end of a pier without slowing down. She was swimming like a fish by age 2, thank goodness. I went in fully clothed quite a few times—heels and all. When she was ‘supposed’ to be in the pool she had on something that kept her floating.

mowens's avatar

I lived in the ghetto. I was a poor, cheap college student. We could always hear the couple that lived next door arguing. It always got pretty loud. But one night, there was a lot of banging, screaming and crying. My roommate and I went over, and banged on the door, and told the guy he needed to calm down, and asked the woman if she was alright or if she needed anything, Specifically, protection from the asshole.

The woman actually cussed us out, and told us to mind our own business. The walls were paper thin, I know she was being beaten… and we would have liked nothing better than to make sure the guy wouldn’t hurt her again.

I got dirty stares for the rest of the year I lived with her. She even came over the next day, and cussed us out again! As if the first time wasn’t enough.

I couldn’t comprehend what was happening. We were trying to help. Why attack us?

Anyway I don’t know if I saved her life, but I tried.

zannajune's avatar

When I was ten years old my friend and I were roller blading around town. We started to pick cherries off of a neighbors cherry tree and ate them. I suddenly noticed her grabbing for her throat and that she was choking on the pit. I gave her the heimlich and it popped out. She was perfectly fine after that. I’m just glad I knew what to do!

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