Seventeen-year-old Thalia Rodriguez was driving in her car when she saw a bleeding man lying next to a crashed motorcycle on the side of the road. Immediately, the teenager pulled her vehicle over and sprang into action. However, after EMTs arrived on the scene, shocking news would be dropped on the teen, leaving her in tears.
After taking EKG and first responder classes as part of Westland Hialeah High’s Health Science magnet program, Rodriguez was more prepared for the emergency situation she encountered than most would have been, especially most teenagers her age. The 17-year-old checked the man’s vitals, but he was unresponsive.
“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 saw that he was bleeding profusely from his lower body and was worried for his life. The man had lost his left leg in the crash and his right was also severely hurt.
A few minutes, another passing driver pulled over. The woman, Vianca Diaz, happened to be a nurse and also rushed over to help. Rodriguez asked Diaz if she had anything they could use for a tourniquet, and they used a belt the woman provided on the man’s leg. [Source: Liftable]
“From there, all we could do was wait until the medical service got there,” said Rodriguez.
The injured man was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where his identity was discovered. It turned out that he was Miami-Dade Police Maj. Ricky Carter, a 21-year veteran police officer. Had it not been for Rodriguez, he likely would not be alive today.
Firefighters and first responders were incredibly impressed with Rodriguez’s actions. “I was rather impressed with the first aid skills, of course, but I was more impressed with her grace under pressure,” said City of Hialeah Fire Department Lieutenant Luis Espinosa, who is also the teenager’s emergency medical responder teacher.
Rodriguez also received a well-deserved “Superintendent Certificate of Achievement” from Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and a $100 gift certificate. “You are the definition of courage under Fire. You are courageous, selfless and are skilled and don’t ask permission to do the right thing,” said Carvalho. “I think you are a wonderful example of what young people should be.”
Indeed, the world could use a lot more teens like Thalia Rodriguez. Unfortunately, in this day and age, the entitlement mentality is such that many of her peers would have driven right by Officer Carter without ever stopping to assist him.
Even a dying man on the side of the road isn’t enough to inspire many people to do the right thing. But, luckily for Carter, God placed Rodriguez in the right place at the right time, and he is still alive today.