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Putting Textbooks to Action Neighbors Become Heroes

Anushka Parekh and Elias Bouyounes holding awards
By Lily Collins -

When there’s not a doctor in the house, having med student neighbors is the next best thing.

For two VCOM-Carolinas second-year medical students, being a good neighbor meant applying their training during an at-home emergency and possibly saving a life.

When students Anushka Parekh and Elias Bouyounes heard shouts for help coming from outside of their apartment, they rushed next door and stepped into a gruesome scene: an elderly neighbor sprawled on the floor, a pool of blood, a loved one fearing the worst.

Because of the lack of movement and amount of blood from an apparent head injury, the man was presumed dead. Anushka immediately called 9-1-1 as others joined the scene. Those others on the scene were none other than Spartanburg Battalion Fire Chief Doug Lea and his daughter Samantha.

Approaching the injured man, the students were relieved to detect movement. The patient was not only alive, but conscious and aware of his circumstances. Having spent the past year learning to provide life-saving care in his VCOM classes, Elias stepped up and offered his assistance to Chief Lea in applying first aid. They were able to move the patient, who had fallen over his walker, and stop the bleeding caused by the impact of his head striking a door.

As first responders arrived on the scene, Chief Lea was impressed by the two students’ calm demeanor throughout the fast-paced emergency.

Their efforts stuck with Chief Lea, who selected Anushka and Elias as recipients of the Spartanburg Fire Department Certificate of Appreciation. At a banquet held in February, the two were recognized for the assistance they provided that day.

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