If a medical crisis happened right in front of you, would you know what to do? Doctors are called on to take charge of these situations everywhere from planes to dinner parties, so we get plenty of practice. In the past year alone, I've pulled over on Interstate 95 to tend to car accident victims and aided a woman who collapsed at a Florida mall where I was speaking. But you don't need an M.D. to respond well; in both of these situations, I was impressed by how clearheaded and compassionate the people on the scene were. At the mall, they pitched right in—one person dialed 911, another ran for candy in case we needed to boost the woman's blood sugar, and another brought water without my even asking. In an emergency, you can do the most good when you've thought through how to react in advance. Keep these guidelines in mind.More
Call 911 and stay on the line until the dispatcher says you can hang up. Also, it's always smart to use the classic plea, "Is there a doctor—or nurse—in the house?"
Give a task to anyone around and feel free to act bossy. ("Hey, you in the blue shirt" or "You over there, go talk to the family and ask them what they need.") Assign someone specific to call 911 if you can't or have them find a first aid kit: People are looking for leaders and roles. Divide the duties without waiting for a bystander to volunteer.