As Natasha headed home after a routine hospital check-up, she spotted a commotion up ahead. At first she couldn’t make out what was happening – then she saw the pool of blood.
“All I could see from the distance was just this red pool gathering and it was getting bigger and bigger,” Natasha said.
She knew she had to help.
“I don’t know why or what came over me – everyone was flapping and no one was helping. I dropped my bag and ran – I’d say about half a mile down the street!” Natasha said.
As she got closer she saw an elderly woman on the floor, bleeding heavily from her leg. No one in the crowd around her seemed to know what to do.
“I just ran up, saw where most of the blood was coming from, and put on all the pressure I could on that area and held it,” Natasha said.
Stemming the flow
While Natasha applied pressure to the wound to stem the flow of blood, she asked another bystander to run inside the hospital and get help.
It turned out the woman had been waiting for her son to get a wheelchair from inside the hospital to help take her into the building. But while she was waiting she slipped off the curb, cutting her leg open.
The woman’s son was at the scene but he was clearly upset. He comforted his mum while Natasha did her best to apply pressure to the wound, which was bleeding heavily.
“All I could see was that no matter how hard I was squeezing and putting pressure on, the blood was just bubbling up over my hands. It was all over the floor – a real bad situation,” Natasha said.
But she didn’t give up. She continued to apply pressure to the wound with both hands.
“The lady was crying and saying: ‘Thank you very much for helping me’. Her son was crying too and getting quite upset saying: ‘Thank you very much’,” Natasha said.
Saving a life
The paramedics arrived shortly after and praised Natasha for her actions.
“They said: ‘You should be really proud of yourself, you’ve really helped this lady. If it wasn’t for you she could have died on the floor outside with the amount of blood that was coming out.’”
Natasha had known what to do thanks to her dad teaching her first aid while she was growing up. She also learnt first aid through a previous job as a lifeguard at a leisure trust. She firmly believes more people should learn first aid.
“I think more people need to know first aid because that was outside a hospital and just those precious moments of holding someone’s leg to try and stop the bleeding could have saved that lady’s life.”
Don’t stop at 999
Natasha’s actions seem simple – because they were. And simple actions save lives.
A new study commissioned by the British Red Cross and conducted by the University of Manchester found that up to 59 per cent of deaths from injury may have been prevented had first aid been carried out before the arrival of the emergency medical services.
There is a window of opportunity between dialling 999 and the arrival of the emergency medical services where two simple first aid actions could save someone’s life.
> turning someone on their side and tilting their head back to open their airway
> applying pressure to a heavy bleed to help stem the flow of blood.
You could save a life
Our new Don’t stop at 999 campaign is asking people to go beyond calling 999 in an emergency, and try simple first aid while waiting for further help – like Natasha did.
In Natasha’s case, she was right next to a hospital. But those moments up until the paramedics arrived were still of paramount importance.
“Just little simple things that people can do before the paramedics come to help could save someone’s life – everyone should know some first aid,” Natasha agreed.
Don’t stop at 999. Find out how you could save a life