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Monday, 7 May, 2001, 23:20 GMT 00:20 UK
'First aid saved a life'
Stuart Strachan (right) collects his commendation award from actor Colin Salmon
Stuart Strachan (right) received a British Red Cross commendation award
The British Red Cross has launched a campaign to encourage road users to learn basic first aid to help them in the event of encountering a serious accident.

BBC News Online's Melissa Jackson spoke to one man whose actions helped save the life of a road crash victim.

University student Stuart Strachan, 22, had learned first aid at school as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and subsequently became a Red Cross volunteer.

Last May he went to the rescue of a motorcyclist who had careered off a road in Scotland.

It would be a double success if my story encourages one person to do a course who might then be able to go out and help someone else

Stuart Strachan

"It was a beautiful spring day in Haddington, West Lothian and I was sitting at home working on my dissertation when my dad said he had heard the sound of a road crash.

"We both got straight in the car and drove to the scene of the crash.

"The man on the bike had slid off the road and fallen 10 feet down a steep bank where he was wedged between a fence and a wall.

"I made my way down the embankment, while my dad closed off the road and called the emergency services.

"The guy was trying to stand up with his hand against the wall. I helped him to lay down and that's when I noticed the extent of his injury.

"He was missing the lower section of his left leg, but he had no idea of the extent of the injury."

"My initial thought was that I had to combat the shock and stop the blood loss.

First aid procedures

"Because of the type of injury, putting direct pressure onto the wound would have killed all the nerves and all the tissues so what was required was to top the bleeding at the femoral artery and the easiest way to do that was to use my hands.

"I raised his good leg to combat the shock and raised the injured leg as much as possible and exerted enough pressure to stop further blood loss."

Playing down the role of a hero, he modestly said: "I did what anyone in the Red Cross would have done.

Stuart Strachan on graduation day
Stuart Strachan: in the right place at the right time

"I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

"It turns out they couldn't save the man's leg because of the type of injury.

"But I was told afterwards by the District Ambulance Officer and police and the doctor at the hospital that I saved his life."

He hopes his actions will motivate others to learn first aid.

"It would be a double success if my story encourages one person to do a course who might then be able to go out and help someone else."

Mr Strachan received a British Red Cross commendation award for his efforts.

Afterwards, the police and medical team said that had it not been for Mr Strachan's intervention, the outcome for the man, a married father of two, could have been very different.

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16 Feb 01 | Health
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