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High School Student Saves Injured Officer's Life (Photo)

A Miami teenager saved the life of an injured police officer.

Thalia Rodriguez was driving when she spotted a man bleeding on the side of the road. The 17-year-old immediately pulled over and rushed to the man’s side. It was then she knew she needed to use her first responder training, which she learned in a high school health science class.

“I knew I couldn't panic,” she told the Miami Herald. “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.”

Rodriguez checked the man’s breathing, took his pulse and stayed by his side as he continued to bleed profusely. His left leg was gone, his right leg was in badly injured and the man was unresponsive.

Soon, another driver pulled over to help. That driver happened to be a nurse, but it was Rodriguez’s next move that saved the man’s life. The nurse, Vianca Diaz, got a belt from her car and Rodriguez made it into a tourniquet to wrap around the man’s bleeding leg.

“From there, all we could do was wait until the medical service got there,” she said. 

Rodriguez later learned the man she saved was off-duty Miami-Dade Police Maj. Ricky Carter. 

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

Espinosa added that Rodriguez made the right call by applying the tourniquet, even though they often cause people to lose limbs.

“In all honesty in that scenario the most trained cardiac surgeon in the field would have done the same thing,” he 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.”

The teacher added that he was proud to see one of his students applying their training and saving someone’s life.

“It’s very uplifting as opposed to what I did for 25 years which, in all honesty, most of the calls didn’t end that great,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity to train the next generation.”

Rodriguez, who is a cadet at a local fire station, said she plans to attend college and take first responder courses with the goal of becoming a firefighter. 

“Thank heaven for that young lady who stop to help,she help save his life,” one Mad World News reader commented in response to the story on the site’s Facebook page.

“Awesome young lady! She will be a great EMS provider!” another added.

Sources: Miami Herald, Mad World News/Facebook / Photo credit: Edward Kimmel/Flickr, Jose A. Iglesias/Miami Herald