How to Save a Life


How to Save A Life.

As a doctor, I’ve had the honor of helping to save a few lives. Some have been trauma cases in the ER, a few have been long-term saves in the clinic, but the most memorable have been surprises.

A young man collapsed while playing the annual Thanksgiving family tag football game in the field next to a small town ND community center. Thanks to many CPR/AED trained family members, and LifeFlight, he lived. I was on the mouth-to-mouth part of the equation. He graduated on time and with high honors from college, and now has a lovely wife and a great career.

The USBank parking lot on University was the scene of another life saved. I was inside getting my bank account set up after returning to Fargo to start my practice. Staff ran in, crying “We need a doctor in the parking lot!” I ran out, to find an SUV part-way up a snow bank, with an elderly, unconscious man in the driver’s seat. I then saw my dad Mark, also a physician, who had witnessed the man go straight through the drive-through lane and into the snow bank. Since there was no trauma, we gently lifted him out and put him on the snowy ground, and started CPR. Once again, I did mouth-to-mouth breathing. It happened to be my birthday, so my brothers teased me about my unconventional birthday kiss. It turned out to be a kiss of life. It was cool that my dad and I did it together. The man lived several more years. I later took care of his grandson and great-grandchild. They both knew the story of the USBANK parking lot.

So, it is very important to learn CPR and how to use an AED. The process has gotten even easier. Get in touch with FM Ambulance for classes.

But there are other ways to save a life, just be being you. Back in February 2017, I wrote about the power of noticing those who might need a little help or seem down or isolated. A small friendly gesture might make a world of difference.

David Wagner of Minneapolis owns JUUT Salons. Late one afternoon, he saw a long-time client of a shampoo and style. “What’s the occasion?” he asked. “Oh, I just want to look good and feel good tonight,” she answered. They had a great conversation, laughing and joking throughout.

A few days later, he received a letter from his client. She thanked him for saving her life, as she had planned to commit suicide that night. Her fresh style was to look good for her own funeral. She realized after her visit with him that there was still hope and laughter in the world, and that her life was worth something. She sought professional help. She wrote, “Thank you for being there without knowing that you were.”

Despite knowing her for three years, David had no idea that she was going through a personal crisis. He resolved to give special care and attention to everyone he saw. He also started a website www. and a crusade to share stories and ideas of making a difference in someone’s day.

It might happen at a football game, in a parking lot, at your office, or at home.  You never know when you might save a life.

Go make someone’s day!

With love,

Dr Sue

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