EMT Student Saves Overdosing Man at SF BART Station

"It was a butterfly effect, I was waiting for my friend and if I hadn't, I might have missed this person," said Nicholas Stallcup

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An EMT student has credited fate in the rescue of an overdose victim at the Civic Center BART station Monday, BART officials said in a statement.

"It was a butterfly effect, I was waiting for my friend and if I hadn't, I might have missed this person," said Nicholas Stallcup, a student at the City College of San Francisco where he had just finished his third week of EMT training.

Around 11:30 p.m. Stallcup found a man lying unresponsive on the floor of the station, the transit agency confirmed. The man was blue in the face and barely breathing. BART officials said that Stallcup performed CPR until the man was revived.

"He was unresponsive for what felt like 15 minutes when it was only three minutes," said Stallcup. "I thought he was dead."

BART police officials arrived on the scene a short time later and administered two doses of Narcan, an opioid antidote used in situations in which someone is suffering from an overdose. As of May of last year all BART police officers carry Narcan. In 2019, they administered 41 doses in 27 incidents, so far in 2020 they have administered seven doses. Police said that in every case the victim survived.

BART officials said that the man in this instance was transported to a local hospital for further treatment.

"The faster you can get Narcan to somebody who is overdosing the more likely you are to save their life," said a BART police officer.

This incident highlights one city leaders's efforts in seeking help from the state to deal with the opioid crisis.

Supervisor Matt Haney sent a letter to the governor calling for more help, and perhaps the need for an executive order.

"It's the worst that we have ever seen," Haney said. "The most deadly epidemic that we're facing as a city is drug use and drug overdoses."

For Stallcup, it all came down to helping someone who desperately needed it.

"Instincts kicked in," he said. "I feel like, it's someone's kid. Maybe someone's dad or husband."

BART police emphasized the value of Stallcup's training.

 "It is always great when riders have first aid training," said one of the officers who arrived on the scene. "A few seconds can make the difference between life and death."

Firefighters said that without Stallcup's effort the outcome of the rescue may have been different.

Stallcup pointed out that even people who are not in EMT training can take first aid courses and become CPR certified, oftentimes for a low cost — or even for free.

Stallcup also said that having empathy for others is an important part of supporting the Bay Area community.

"It's easy to look at someone and think — oh, he's a junkie so let's not bother — and turn the other cheek," said Stallcup. "They are still part of our community. They are not the most glamorous or healthiest part, but nonetheless, they are one of us."

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