Opinion: Responders deserve big thanks

A Pitt-Johnstown community member’s life was saved. The laudable acts were nothing short of upright heroism by all those who responded in a timely fashion.

On Sept. 3, Pitt-Johnstown librarian Jim Langan was found on a bench in the campus mall by a freshman. She sought help, and a few students came to her aid, although many initially ignored her.

Richland and campus police were informed immediately, which is the norm. What was truly heartening was when nursing faculty and students rushed to the scene, responding to the critical urgency that could mean life and death in minutes.

It was perhaps the first time that our community had the opportunity to respond in such dire circumstances, and, thankfully, responded in a manner we all hope to see. If one of us should find ourselves in a position similar to Langan’s, we can count on the kind of assistance he received from community members.

Freshman Kyla Colcombe, in particular, should be recognized for her assistance. President Spectar should consider an official recognition.

This trial might also be an indicator for the importance of non-bystander behavior and emergency responding. According to the American Heart Association, more than 92,000 people are saved by cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the United States, and between 100,000 to 200,000 lives could have been saved if it was performed early enough.

To those who chose not to help in fear of liability: the Good Samaritan law, which was signed for Pennsylvania in 2011, ensures your exemption from civil liability as long as the CPR is performed reasonably. The law also exempts those who are under the drinking age from prosecution if they call 911 in fear that someone else may need immediate medical response.

We applaud once again the people who had the awareness of doing the right thing, before anything more detrimental could happen. We also encourage students, faculty members and whoever is part of this community, to acquire knowledge of emergency responding, and to react to those who are visibly in need of medical attention.

Every second counts.