Walking the Talk

In the Health and Safety Department at OTC we get really excited about what we call “save stories.” We live for true stories of people putting lifesaving skills to work. My post in April about Dr. Megyesi and his staff is evidence of that. Our goal is to train everybody how to use these lifesaving skills, so it should be no surprise that we get excited when we hear about someone doing it.

That’s why I’m so excited about this new blog—it gives me an opportunity to introduce the world to some of these acts of heroism (and by “the world” I mean the endless hordes of you who read the blog faithfully).

This is another example of a Red Cross trained individual doing an extraordinary deed with his training. In fact, this story involves a Red Cross certified instructor named Walter. Every day, instructors like Walter teach first aid, CPR, AED and bloodborne pathogens classes (among others) here at OTC as well as at Portland-area businesses, schools and churches. Along with teaching, Walter’s experience proves that our instructors practice what they preach.

A few weeks ago, Walter was at a local mall when he heard a commotion. As he neared the crowd, he became aware of the terrible situation: a young man was down on the ground bleeding profusely, suffering from a stab wound. The knife had punctured the young man’s femoral artery, which is the major artery bringing blood to the leg. Walter quickly assessed the situation and immediately knew that the worst was happening: this young man was bleeding to death.

Walter says that only he and one other shopper knew what to do in the situation. Some people were running the other way. So what did our beloved instructor do? I’ll let him tell you:

“We had him lay down with his good leg up to avoid shock. We put pressure on his injury, observed the ABC’s, and I kept assessing his pulse and temperature. I noticed signs of shock (weak, fast pulse), so we elevated his legs even more, and brought his pulse down to 80. We stayed with him until paramedics arrived.”

Walter goes on to report that one of the paramedics told him that the young man would certainly have died if first aid had not been performed.

Walter concluded:

“I just want to keep assuring everyone at [OTC] and my students that first aid does work. I felt prouder than ever to be part of the team.”

We are so proud of Walter and his commitment to saving lives. What more could you want from a first aid instructor?

What I can’t stop thinking about is the fact that if it weren’t for two individuals’ training, quick thinking and willingness to help, this young man would no longer be with us. What if I am the victim of an unfortunate situation such as this and no one around me knows how to administer first aid, or even CPR? What if you are? Our goal at the Red Cross is to get as many people trained as we can to minimize the chances of this happening. We can’t always stop emergencies from happening, but we hope to be able to give people the best chance to live when emergencies do happen.

How long has it been since you were trained?



  • Great Story Cooper! I always wonder how I would react and perform under such circumstances. Since many of us are not employed everyday in the service of emergency response the best thing we can do is take these great classes and be prepared. That way when the unexpected happens we can be useful.
    I am currently a certified Red Cross CPR/First Aid/AED card holder. While these last three years, what can I do to keep sharp in these skills?
    Keep up the great work!

  • Be sure to get re-certified every year! That’s the best way to keep your skills sharp–well, that and actually using the skills. But, of course, I hope you never have to.

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