What to do in an emergency


As luck would have it, I caught an earlier flight at the airport, getting me into San Francisco 2 hours ahead of schedule. As planned, I called my friend Marites to pick me up from the North Berkeley BART station. The train was fairly crowded and as we moved between the last two stations on the way to my destination, I noticed a somewhat heavyset 50 something guy about three seats over start to breath in a funny way. Then I noticed his eyes were kinda out of it and his breathing was really odd, sort of rhythmically gasping and shaking. I looked around and people saw him, I was sure, but didn’t seem to want to get involved. I dropped my bag and went over to him and asked if he was ok, but he couldn’t hear me, he just kept shaking and gasping and foaming at the mouth a little. I yelled for someone to call 911, then pushed the emergency call button on the train and spoke to a somewhat incredulous conductor, screaming at him that a guy in our car was having a heart attack or something and to call 911. “What are his symptoms?”, the conductor asked, to which I simply screamed back, flustered, “Just call 911, he is dying!”. I was totally freaked out. They stopped the train at the next station, which happened to be my station, and by that time others in the car had gathered around as they held the train and waited for an ambulance. Not seeing what else there was to do, I walked out to meet Marites upstairs where she was waiting. It occurs to me that I have no idea what the proper medical response would be in a situation like this. I hope he is ok.


  1. Gabe says:

    Classic Bay Area response. I swear, people there will let you collapse and die on the street before getting involved. I wonder if it’s just the high level of homelessness or what.

  2. Josh says:

    It’s my worst nightmare. I mean… what the hell DO you do? You did the exact right thing. There are people trained for just that sort of thing. Meanwhile… I’ve got the cold,flu, whatever. Just a fever, really. It bites. I better be better for my trip to SOUTH BEACH! Have fun out west. I’m off to a Nyquil induced slumber.

  3. Mom says:

    I’m proud of you for doing SOMETHING–and I can’t imagine what else you could have done. Attempting the wrong intervention would potentially make matters much worse.

    Say hi to Keith and Marites and the girls for me.

    And Josh–CHICKEN SOUP.