Our world took a morbid turn earlier this week when an 87-year-old patient at a California nursing home suffered a heart attack and seconds later the 9-1-1 dispatcher – aware the woman desperately needed CPR -- was pleading with a caller, “Is there anybody that's willing to help this lady and not let her die?" The cold reply came: “Not at this time."
So as I catch up on loose ends, I’ll be bold enough to say there is always somebody available if an emergency phone call is made. Scream “help,” give the operator your exact location, and then drop the phone and get to work! If somebody’s life is in danger and no one has CPR training, put the patient on their back, place one of your hands over your other on the center of the chest, palm down, and start rapid chest compressions – about 100 per minute – until help arrives.
The experts say don’t worry about breaking a frail woman’s ribs, crushing a baby, or mouth-to-mouth air; the rapid compressions are what saves lives. And if there is anyone who is fearful of being sued or scared they may instead hasten a person’s death, there is a rigid “Good Samaritan Law” that has been a Tennessee law for 50 years that reads, in part:
““Any person … who in good faith renders emergency care at the scene of an accident, medical emergency or disaster … (or) participates or assists in rendering emergency care … shall not be liable to such victims or persons receiving emergency care for any civil damages as a result of any act or failure to act to provide or arrange for further medical treatment or care for the injured person, except such damages as may result from the gross negligence of the person rendering such emergency care.”
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They are making what will be an unbelievably inspirational movie this spring on the life of the late Arkansas football player Brandon Burlsworth, one of the most dynamic college football players of all-time before he was killed in a car wreck 11 days after being drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 1998. The movie will be called “Greater.”
Burlsworth, who had severe vision problems, was a 200-pound walk-on lineman from little Harrison (Ark.) High School who nobody gave much of a chance. He was soon awarded a full scholarship in his first year and is today the only Razorback to obtain both a bachelor's and a master’s degree before he played his last collegiate game. He was a two-year All-SEC player and earned All-American status as a senior. His name is included on this year’s Football Hall of Fame ballot.
Today the Brandon Burlworth Foundation, which is supported by Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club, helps needy children with eye problems and there is a monument dedicated to his fastidious attention to small details and his huge heart for others inside the Razorback locker-room.
Brandon is only one of two Arkansas players to ever have their number retired, if that tells you a bit more. (Clyde Scott, who played in the late ‘40s, also had his number retired.) Oh, and the “Burlsworth Trophy” is now presented annually to the top walk-on player in college football by the NCAA. Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin is the most recent winner.
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Somebody asked race car driver Joey Logano how much of a role that luck plays in what he does for a living and he said none. “I think you create your own luck, so I don’t believe in luck.”
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Not many people noticed when Tom Griffin, age 96, died last week in Cincinnati but they should have. The former major was a navigator on one of the B-25s that took part in the daring Doolittle Raid on mainland Japan during World War II. Since the 16 planes lacked the fuel to return, Griffin parachuted over China and eluded capture. He then returned to action, was shot down over Northern Africa, and spent two years in a German POW camp.
His death means there are only four surviving Raiders. Next month, at their annual banquet, Griffin will be remembered when his engraved goblet will be turned upside down. The dream of every Raider was to be among the last two standing so those two could finally toast the others who played such a huge part in preserving freedom.
Incidentally, for the last 53 years a vintage bottle of 1896 Hennessy cognac has accompanied the silver goblets to each Raider reunion to provide for the final toast. Why 1896? That’s the year Jimmy Doolittle was born. (One of the four remaining Raiders is Nashville’s Robert Hite.)
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Brianna Priddy is a server at an Applebee's in Lakewood, Colo., so when a group came in and ordered margarita drinks not long ago, Brianna asked for their IDs. One girl handed the server one that was quite unusual – it was Brianna Priddy’s own driver’s license that had been stolen two weeks before.
"I handed it back to her and said, 'Sure, I'll be right back with your margarita,'" she told a Denver TV station but she also called the cops. When the police arrived the bewildered thief was arrested and Brianna got her driver’s license back.
I just love happy endings.