A local Eagle Scout was honored last Wednesday by his troop for saving a life this spring during a karate class.
Bailey Smith, a Park City High School senior, has been a Boy Scout for 10 years and an Eagle Scout for the past two. He is also a teacher at Bobby Lawrence Karate in Quarry Village.
During a class one afternoon in May, a student in her 30s was visibly struggling.
"She was sparring, I was one of the instructors, and I kind of saw her starting to lose energy," Smith said. "She wasn't really focusing real well so I told her to sit down and I took a couple sets of vitals. Her heart rate was real high, breathing real fast and shallow. And then she just passed out on the ground."
During the winter, Smith is a ski patroller at Park City Mountain Resort, so he's seen plenty of trauma. "I've pulled plenty of people out of trees" is how he puts it. But he said he had never been involved with a medical issue like the one at the karate studio.
When the student passed out, Smith told another instructor to call 911 while he performed sternal rubs on the patient (to check whether she was truly unconscious) and got no response.
"A couple minutes later she stopped breathing. So I took a few measures to open her airway and maintain the airway to help her breathe again," he said.
A few minutes later, she was breathing again.
"She's still unconscious. I did open her airway. I did a head tilt-chin lift...
A few more minutes, and the student regained consciousness right before the paramedics arrived.
"She repeated the cycle two or three more times in the ambulance and a few more times at the hospital later that night," Smith said.
The student's mother returned to the karate studio soon afterwards to give an update on her daughter's condition. She said the ER staff told her that, but for Smith's actions, her daughter probably would not have made it to the hospital.
"I thought that was really cool," Smith said.
So how does it feel, saving someone's life?
"You know, one of the things one of my instructors from the resort taught me was, whenever you walk away from a situation like that, don't go 'dang, I nailed that perfectly.' Always look for something you could have done better," he said.
His Scout troop took a few months to honor Smith because "I kind of kept it on the down low," he said. When his mother heard what happened, she thought recognition would be a great thing for Bailey, especially because he's applying to colleges.
"I'm trying to get into Annapolis and West Point," he said. "Right now I'm working on Congressional nominations and all that fun stuff."
The student who was rushed to the hospital was put on new medications and was soon back in the karate studio.
"She still comes to classes regularly, so I see her every week," Smith said with a grin.
The Boy Scout motto is "Be prepared," and Bailey Smith was.