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Teen's Emergency Training Paid Off When She Encountered Injured Motorcyclist Who Turned Out To Be A Cop

A high school student from Florida is being hailed as a hero after she rushed to the aid of an injured person at the site of a motorcycle crash. The 17-year-old was conveniently on her way to the firehouse for a ride-along because she was taking a first responder's training course at her high school. The training paid off for her and the officer.

Thalia Rodriguez was driving on Interstate 75 early one Sunday morning when she spotted a man lying on the side of the road, covered in blood. Next to him was the mangled wreckage of his motorcycle.

Rodriguez pulled a fire extinguisher out of her car and put out the flaming bike. The 17-year-old then tended to the patient.

The man was in shock. He'd lost one leg, and his other leg was nearly gone. He was bleeding profusely.

Rodriguez checked his pulse and his breathing, then made the call to make a tourniquet for his bleeding leg.

A tourniquet is not a decision to take lightly, said retired City of Hialeah Fire Department Lieutenant Luis Espinosa. It can result in a patient losing a limb. Rodriguez made the right call.

“In all honesty in that scenario the most trained cardiac surgeon in the field would have done the same thing,” Espinosa said. “They had to stop the bleeding, there was no other way to do it, the leg was probably going to be lost anyway, so it was a great decision at a great time.”

Espinosa teaches the classes at Westland Hialeah’s health sciences magnet school in first responder training. He says not all students end up going into the field, but Rodriguez shows real promise.

“It’s rather difficult to be 17 and comfort a grown man during a time like that,” Espinosa said. “I was rather impressed with the first aid skills, of course, but I was more impressed with her grace under pressure.”

Rodriguez stuck with the dazed and confused man, trying to talk to him as she waited for emergency responders to arrive. He was air-lifted to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The accident victim was finally identified there as Miami-Dade Police Maj. Ricky Carter, an off-duty officer who was a 21-year veteran of the force.

After the accident, the teen went to donate blood for the officer. Thanks to her quick thinking and excellent first aid skills, Carter survived the horrific crash.

Rodriguez is graduating this year and wants to continue on a career path as a first responder. She hopes to become a firefighter and work at a local firehouse.

School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho presented Rodriguez with a special achievement certificate for her heroic actions.

Rodriguez shies away from the praise and publicity, but her friends and teachers couldn’t be prouder of her and what she did. She says that when she came across the blood scene, her training just kicked in and she started running on auto-pilot.

“I knew I couldn’t panic,” she said. “At that point it was only him, only save him, buy him time. Everything else in such a scenario is all a blur except for what you’re focused on.”

Source: Miami Herald, Mad World News
Photo: Jose A. Iglesias

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