People Who've Actually Saved Someone's Life Share Their Stories
Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay

Years ago I was standing on a subway platform when I witnessed a man lying down on the tracks. A group of us––that is, other people waiting for the train––tried to coax the man out of the trackbed and convince him to hop back up onto the platform. The train was due any minute. I ended up running back to the agent's booth to ask them to notify the next train not to come into the station and another person called 911. Eventually medics arrived and were able to get that man safety. I sometimes wonder what happened to him. I never saw him again.

After Redditor disintegrationist asked the online community, "Have you ever saved someone's life? How did it happen?" people shared stories of their own.

"I don't know..."

I don't know if this really fits. I needed a kidney. My cousin volunteered. During their testing of her they found a small mass they thought was just fat. It turned out to be cancer. Most kidney cancer apparently is not caught until it's too late because your other kidney takes on the work and you don't get symptoms. She was able to get it all removed and is now cancer free (didn't even need chemo, just surgery). Anyway, she claims I saved her life. I claim she saved her own by being willing to donate.


"Was in the middle of a neighborhood pool..."

Was in the middle of a neighborhood pool and watched a toddler at the side of the pool (10ft end) take his floats off and then jump in the water. He curled up like a ball and began to sink quickly. I was able to reach him before he reached the bottom. He was scared but screaming. The babysitter was on her phone.


"Moral of the story..."

I heard a faint domestic fire alarm one night that wouldn't quit so I walked down the street to idenitfy where the alarm was coming from. I knocked on the door but there no answer. I couldn't smell smoke or feel heat off the door but decided to call the fire brigade just in case.

They arrived pretty quickly and I pointed out which unit the alarm was coming from. They walked up to the door then ran back to the truck to grab a door-banging-opening thingo and the hose reels. Next thing all this smoke is pouring out the front door and they're carrying an old lady down the stairs. Then another firey emerged carrying the lady's cat.

Turns out she had turned on the stove to cook dinner but fell asleep. The unit was filled with smoke and she would have asphyxiated, but both she and the kitty survived. She wrote me a lovely note thanking me, which was nice.

Moral of the story is to pay attention to noises/things that are out of place, it's better to be safe than sorry, and look after each other.


"After a long distance running event..."

I am a doctor. Even then I can count the number of times I can say I've saved someone's life on one hand with fingers left over.

I was working at an athletics event. After a long distance running event that was open entry, a person collapsed and stopped breathing. I worked with my team to stabilise them and transfer them to hospital. They needed support for their airway to keep breathing. Had they not had it they would have asphyxiated and died.

I met them with their spouse and 8yo child a few months later - actually on this day a few years ago. That was the biggest reward for me. The best feeling.


"I highly recommend..."

I donated bone marrow to a stranger given two months to live! Surprisingly easy process and haven't regretted doing it for a second.

Registered during an on-campus drive and was called within the year as a match. The whole process took a couple months, and a couple hours of my time for blood tests and doctors appointments.

I highly recommend anyone interested to join a registry. The odds are low of getting selected but the chance to save a life is worth it. I joined with Be the Match.


"When I was in middle school..."

When I was in middle school, my dad took me to one of his friend's barbecues. His friend had a young son that I think was 4 or 5 at the time. Everyone had been swimming in the pool and went in the yard to go eat.

No one saw the little kid run back to the pool except for me. Before I could say anything, he jumped in without his swimmies. I ran as fast as I could to him as he thrashed in the water, and I pulled him out.

His parents were absolutely shocked and terrified. They didn't think he would do anything like that. Thankfully he ended up being fine, and it scared him out of doing it again. Always watch your kids if you have a pool. Even if you think they know better, they probably don't.


"I vividly remember..."

A few friends and I saved a tourist family from drowning while surfing on the island of Oahu.

We had been surfing an outer reef on the south shore that was a good half mile or so off the coast when we noticed a family paddling out on a kayak. A single person kayak with a dad, younger daughter maybe 8 and a son maybe 12 on the nose and tail, and with an older teenage son paddling behind on a boogie board. They paddled directly into an area of the reef where 4/5 ft waves were crashing very fast and very powerfully on to pretty much dry reef. It took only seconds for us to see them go from paddling along in the kayak to seeing them all bobbing in the waves and the kayak 200 yards away, stuck on the reef.

We quickly paddled across the channel as fast as we could. We then each gave on of the kids and the dad out boards and pulled them by our leashes far enough into the lagoon and they could walk. About 100 yards of so.

I vividly remember the dad saying "I'm not panicking, I'm not panicking" over and over in a thick Russian accent and having to reassure him that he'd be ok but needs to focus on what we were doing.

Just goes to show how dangerous the ocean is and how deadly it could've been for that family if we weren't there.


"I said no..."

Former lifeguard.

My favorite is the one girl who had a conversation with me that she didn't know how to swim but wanted to jump off the diving board anyway. I said no, get off the diving board. She jumped, I saved her life. You're welcome, girl, wherever you are.


"It's a long..."

It's a long, detailed story but I'll keep it short:

My brother came home from work and went to use the bathroom. When he came back, he asked if I wanted to join him for a cigarette on the back porch. I said "sure" and went to get my shoes while he went out back. When I went to join him, he was laying in the backyard, pale, sweaty and barely conscience. I had to carry him inside which was no easy feat since he's taller and heavier. I put him on the floor in the kitchen and he just circled the drain in front of me. I'm an EMT and I couldn't figure out what was happening. He went into cardiac arrest and died in front of me. I did CPR while the ambulance came and got a pulse right as they entered the house. It turned out he had some bad drugs.

Even though it was a happy ending, it really f*cked me up. Its been over a year now and I think about it everyday. I can recall every detail like it happened yesterday. I've never been the same since it happened. I feel as though a part of me died in exchange for my brother's life.


"It was one of the best things..."

I donated bone marrow to a cancer patient. It was one of the best things I've ever done.


"He wasn't responding..."

A drunk man in front of me ducked under the pedestrian boom gates and started crossing the railway tracks. He wasn't responding to my yelling at him to stop so I had to duck under, grab his clothes and drag him backwards.

The train only just missed him.


"Gave my bro..."

Gave my bro the Heimlich maneuver when he choked on a chunk of hot pineapple.


"A lady down the street..."

A lady down the street from my dad's house plowed her car into a light post and hit her head really hard. When we got there she was trying to start her car and crying, and she got out of the car to look at it and she couldn't walk very well. She told us she was going to just walk home, so my dad called his firefighter neighbor over and we all made conversation with her til an ambulance arrived. I honestly think if she had made it home and gone to bed she would have died from her concussion.


"Left the scene..."

The one time in my life I've been useful.

I lived in Texas for a little bit a couple years ago. I was walking out of a Walmart one day with some groceries and spotted a car in a handicap spot with the driver door open. Looked to me like someone bent over grabbing their wallet/phone or something.

Didn't think much of it and no one walking by seemed to be looking at it either. Me being the suspicious person I am took another quick look back as I was coming closer to my car. I then noticed that a pair of legs had appeared underneath the door like the person had fallen and was now sitting on the ground lying back against the door jam.

I quickly ran my things to my car, threw them in and bolted to the handicap spot car. There was a middle aged man sitting there gasping for air, and barely conscious. I was initially shocked and stood for just a moment trying to figure out what to do. I tried to ask him what happened as he gestured to the inside of his car. Ran to the other side and opened the door.

Cigarette butts and cigarette packages all over the inside, but in the cup holder sat one small inhaler. Grabbed it and physically pumped the inhaler into his airway. By this time two or three people had stopped and were asking what was going on. Looked at them and told them to dial 911.

The man began to breathe normally and one of the people nearby that dialed 911 said the ambulance would be there soon. Looked at the guy on the ground and said "hey man, probably a bad time but you should really stop smoking". He replied in a somber raspy tone "I know".

Left the scene knowing he was in good hands and never got his name. If you're out there, hope you broke the habit and glad to have helped that day.


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