Thalia Rodriguez, a 17-year-old, was driving along when out of nowhere, she saw a man bleeding on the side of the road. And although most would have freaked out, or continued to keep driving, Thalia knew she had to pull over.
“I knew I couldn’t panic. At that point, it was only him, only save him, buy him time. Everything else is such a scenario is all a blur except for what you’re focused on,” said Thalia.

She then began to remember her first responder training, which she had learned in high school in a health science class.

She began checking the man’s breathing and then took his pulse. He was bleeding uncontrollably, and his left leg was gone. Along with his right leg being badly injured. She was terrified, but she tried not to focus on that. Her mind was set on saving this man’s life.

It wasn’t long until another driver pulled up, who happened to be a nurse. But it was what Thalia did next that ended up saving the man’s life.

The nurse, Vianca Diaz went and grabbed a belt from her car, and then gave it to Thalia, who used it to make a tourniquet to wrap around the man’s bleeding leg. It helped to stop the bleeding, but not completely.

“From there, all we could do was wait until the medical service got there,” said Thalia.

But what Thalia didn’t know at the time, was that the man she saved was an off-duty Miami-Dade Police Maj. Ricky Carter.

The man was then transported to the hospital and is recovering well. Despite everything, he is so extremely grateful for Thalia’s quick thinking.

Thalia’s emergency medical responder teacher, Luis Espinosa, said that he was impressed with Thalia’s skills and grace under pressure. And he added that she had made the right call by applying the tourniquet, even though she knew that they often cause people to lose limbs.

“In all honestly in that scenario the most trained cardiac surgeon in the field would have done the same thing. They had to stop the bleeding, there was no other way to do it, the leg was probably going to be lost anyway, so it was a great decision at a great time,” said Espinosa.

Thalia is a cadet at a local fire station and plans to go to college and take courses with the goal of becoming a firefighter. And this was just the first glimpse of everything she will be doing.

Officer Carter has been described as “alert and in great spirits” and we couldn’t be happier! He lost both legs, but will eventually receive prosthetics, and will be able to live independently.

This girl is truly a hero in my eyes and many others, and we are so proud of her and her quick actions, and for actually pulling over to help the man in need.