A Fuengirola student has been praised for her role in saving the life of a British pensioner who had a heart attack earlier this week on Torreblanca train station.
Celia González Ruiz, 20, overslept on Tuesday morning and missed the train she normally catches to Malaga, where she is in her second year of Clinical and Biomedical Laboratory Studies.
Instead she rushed to catch the nine o'clock train, and decided to use the journey time to do some revision for an important exam she has next week.
The train stopped as usual at Torreblanca, which was when she heard the appeal for a health professional to go to the aid of a passenger on the platform.
“I got out of the train out of curiosity to see what had happened,” Celia told SUR later that day. The sight before her is one she will never forget.
“There was a man lying on the ground and a girl was holding his legs. His head was bleeding as he had cut himself when he collapsed after the heart attack. His lips were purple and his eyes wide open, really wide open. He didn't blink,” explained the student.
Celia isn't the doctor or even the nurse that the train's loudspeaker appeal was hoping for, but she has been a Red Cross volunteer for more than a year, which is where she did her CPR training.
The young woman didn't think twice about helping the 83-year-old British man who had apparently been waiting for the train alone with his luggage.
“He was in cardiac arrest so I did CPR,” said Celia, who shouted for someone to call an ambulance before the train left the station.
By then alone - according to Celia the girl who had helped the man initially left shortly after - the time seemed to go really slowly but “although I was tired, I couldn't stop”.
“I was scared but I kept thinking that the man couldn't die like that,” she added.
Once the ambulance arrived Celia helped the professionals stabilise the patient and take him to the Costa del Sol Hospital where he was admitted to intensive care, said sources.
It wasn't until the ambulance crew offered to call someone to pick her up that what she had done really sank in.
“It was when I heard the doctor tell my dad that I had saved a man's life that I was really aware of what had happened. Then I broke down and started to cry,” added Celia.
The student missed her classes on Tuesday, but she has the doctor's note to prove her more than justified absence.
The doctor made it quite clear: “I certify that Celia Rodríguez Ruiz has witnessed a cardiac arrest and revived the patient until we arrived. Thanks to her collaboration the patient is alive.”
Celia isn't a doctor but she has already saved a life.
She said that she wanted to study medicine or nursing but her results weren't good enough.
Now her plans are to finish her Clinical and Biomedical Laboratory course and then join the army as a noncommissioned officer, with the hope of being promoted and being able to study the degree of her choice.
She said that all she wants to do is help others, something she already does through the Red Cross, to whom she is very grateful: “If it hadn't been for all they taught me, the man would be dead,” she said.
For that training and the reward of being able to do their bit for society, Celia encourages other young people to become volunteers in the organisation.
On Tuesday evening Celia went to visit the patient in hospital with her mother. She was only able to see him for a few moments, but said it was worth it.
“The call to his relatives was to say that the man was in hospital, not to inform them that he had passed away,” said Celia happily.