Bystander intervention



To the Editor:

The Islander published a story last week titled, “Cyclist saved by ‘miracles.’”

I am writing to say that the most important part of the story was not the miraculous circumstances. Somers was saved by bystander intervention.

The importance of bystander intervention cannot be overstated. In the case of this cyclist, the visiting man from Florida had the courage to step up and take action, despite possibly having no training at all in emergency response. As an EMT and medical student, I can tell you that this quick action likely saved Somers’ life. My colleagues and I do our very best to respond, but time is never on our side. The minutes provided by bystander intervention can literally be the difference between patient survival and death.

We see similar situations in heart attack cases. Bystander CPR is incredibly important and can more than double a person’s likelihood of survival, according to an article published by “U.S. News and World Report” in April of this year. However, that same report reminded us that fewer than 15 percent of bystanders will actually perform CPR.

I urge anyone who was moved by this story to remember it the next time you have the chance to step up and help someone. You can attempt to stop bleeding as in the case of Somers, perform CPR or even do something as simple as calling 911 and keeping the other person safe, calm and awake until the ambulance arrives. You can do so much for this person if you let your compassion give you the courage to do so.

Dan Sunderland

Greensburg, Pa.

formerly of Northeast Harbor

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