Paul Donovan saved a woman’s life in the main street of Blockhouse Bay by simply opening a car door.
Gail Ellison was semi-conscious and sweltering in the autumn heat when he found her at 4pm on a Monday afternoon. She had been sitting in the parked car for several hours unable to move due to hypoglycaemia unawareness which is a complication of diabetes. The car windows had fogged up and her clothes were wet in the heat.
After calling an ambulance, Paul assisted Gail to get out of the car. He noticed her diabetic badge and realised that some sugar lollies might help. The ambulance arrived and that seemed to be the end of his involvement until Gail’s family went on Facebook to try and find and thank the man who saved her. Gail was quoted as saying "I don't think I'd still be here if it weren't for that man and I really would like to find him. I think someone up there was looking after me because I hate to think what might have happened if I had driven.” Thanks to the power of social media they have met up again, giving Gail her chance to say thanks.
So what made Paul investigate and act on an ordinary Monday when many others had walked past the car in the centre of the village unaware of Gail’s plight? It was not as though he was in a great mood after wasting most of his day trying to sort out his internet banking. Coming out of the bank he wondered if something was wrong in the car with condensation on the windows. When he first investigated he thought that Gail was ok and just having a rest with her eyes partly open. Leaving the car to cross the road something happened. Paul had second thoughts and went back to the car to double check that she was ok. What prompted him to do that?
Hard times don't create heroes. It is during the hard times when the 'hero' within us is revealed. Bob Riley
Emergencies are not always obvious. From time to time, all of us have thoughts or feelings that something does not add up or is not quite right. The outcome depends on whether we are prepared to interrupt what we are doing and act on that small voice in our head. The way we choose to live makes the difference to how we respond.
Paul is a volunteer surf lifesaver, as are others in his family. He is used to looking out for people, alert to hazards and being prepared to help by responding rapidly. Maybe that is why he was the hero that day while others walked on by. The decisions that you make long before the crisis happens determine how you will respond in an emergency.
Thanks to Paul, Gail has recovered fully and the outcome could not be better.
By John Subritzky