WILMINGTON — City officials on Thursday night praised and recognized the actions of 17-year-old Alice Davidson, who performed CPR on an unresponsive, non-breathing man she didn’t know — at great risk to herself.
Davidson started May 6 like any other school day – with a walk to Wilmington High School to catch the bus to Laurel Oaks.
“It was just a normal day, but I heard two guys yelling outside,” Davidson said. She went to tell them to stop and saw a third man passed out in the alley.
The other two men were trying to revive him but they were doing CPR incorrectly by pressing on the man’s sternum, said Davidson, who is certified to perform CPR.
The two men also made an unusual request.
“They asked for ice, which I thought was kind of weird,” Davidson said. The men also told her not to call 911 and pulled up the man’s pants — they had tried to insert an ice cube in the man’s rectum.
Police officials have said people try to use ice to shock people out of an overdose, but it doesn’t work and only delays the onset of emergency medical care. Instead of helping, it endangers lives.
Davidson called 911 and had the conscious men identify the unconscious man to 911 while she began CPR. After, they returned Davidson’s phone to her and ran away. Davidson performed CPR until an ambulance arrived, at which point she said the man resumed breathing.
Later, the man told authorities he had Hepatitis C, which is transmitted through blood.
Davidson was treated for the possible exposure, and fortunately tested negative for Hepatitis C.
Her actions resuscitating the man garnered praise from several city officials.
“She began the lifesaving measure of CPR to quite literally a stranger on the street,” said Mayor John Stanforth at Thursday night’s city council meeting before presenting the key to the city and a Citizen Hero award to Davidson.
“Detective Baker and the Wilmington Fire Department arrived and observed these heroic acts as the patient was loaded and transported to Clinton Memorial Hospital. Alice simply left to catch the bus to school, seeking no recognition. I believe this speaks to the selflessness and humble nature of Alice and her action.”
Wilmington Police Chief Duane Weyand gave Davidson a challenge coin.
“As Detective Baker will testify, you have to solve a homicide or save a life to get one of these,” Weyand said. “We want to present you with something to thank you and for stepping up and being responsible.”
In a statement ready by Stanforth, Detective Scott Baker said Alice, as a 17-year-old girl, took control of a situation that two adults couldn’t handle.
“These two men abandoned her,” Stanforth said. “And she kept assisting the unresponsive male.”
“It’s been said that a hero is an ordinary person who does extraordinary things under extraordinary events,” said Wilmington Firefighter Tim Doyle, who gave Davidson a keychain CPR Microshield to use in the future.
Microshields protect those who give CPR from bodily fluids, helping protect those who administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
City officials and those attending the meeting stood and applauded Davidson.
“If you have CPR certification, and you see somebody struggling to breathe like that – they’re passed out, they’re unable to be properly taken care of or somebody else is doing it wrong – definitely step in,” Davidson told the News Journal. “Make sure that 911 is called and make sure that they are able to have proper care.”
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.