If you need medical help, this will improve your chances

01 December, 2019


This information comes from the book, Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D. After just finishing my annual recertification of CPR/AED, I thought what I'm about to tell you to be timely. 

If you find yourself in a medical emergency and need help from the people around you, what I'm about to tell you may save your life, or at least improve your chances of a full recovery. You assume that if you were to collapse on the street, in a mall or find yourself in the middle of a serious car accident that the strangers around you will note you are in trouble and come to your aid. This could happen but in most cases, those people will assume someone else has already come to your aid, or that your situation isn't a real emergency. Some may chose not to get involved in fear of doing something wrong. In these situations where you may be bleeding internally, having a heart attach or stroke, getting emergency services as quickly as possible is essential. 

Your only option is to pick out one individual from the crowd, look at them directly, point at them, and speak to them directly. Call out to them with a description of what they're wearing and tell them what you want them to do. "You sir, in the green plaid shirt, I need help. Call 911." Do not hesitate looking for a certain type of person, or second guess whether one person will provide better aid than another, just choose someone and call out. When you assign a role to a specific individual, there is no question of whether it's someone else's problem and they will take up the cause. Studies have shown that when one person acts, other people around you will then act appropriately, doing what they can until help arrives. 

When you need medical aid, it is not the time to be shy and hope someone notices you as someone in urgent need. 

While I hope you never find yourself in a situation where you need this information, it can be as important as the 911 call itself. 

Until next time.

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