Fort Stewart combat medic Pvt. Bryan Borrelli’s quick thinking and newly acquired medical skills were tested Aug. 24 when he saved a woman’s life in Savannah.
Borrelli, 23, a troop medical clinic for the 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, said he was assigned to Stewart less than nine months ago after completing his advanced individual training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
He said he and a friend, Ashley Clark, were returning to her car after dancing at a night club. As they entered a parking garage, they saw a male carrying a young female over his shoulder. Borrelli told the man to put her down, that he was a medic, and she looked like she needed medical attention.
"The guy didn’t care who I was," said Borrelli, a former mixed martial arts instructor. "He was carrying her over his shoulder like he was Tarzan ... I was under the impression he had drugged her ... He kept telling me that he was just going to take her home, that she’d be alright, and that she’d just sleep it off."
Borrelli said the man was unwilling to put her down. He said he "lost it" and simply took the woman away from the man. After he laid her on the concrete floor, Borrelli said he began checking her "baseline vitals."
She was in bad shape, possibly critical condition, he said, and there wasn’t time to call 911.
He said he gave his personal information to the man and then placed her in the back of Clark’s car. The man never acknowledged his relationship to the woman, he said. As soon as he placed her in back seat, he said the woman went into a seizure. Borrelli said her carotid pulse was weak, and he could find no radial pulse at all.
"It was definitely not just alcohol," he said. "It was drugs, and I don’t think she took them. I think she was slipped something."
Borrelli said that as he drove Clark’s car to Memorial University Medical Center, he coached Clark as she checked the woman’s vital signs.
When they arrived at the emergency room, he drove onto the sidewalk and rushed the woman inside, where paramedics met them with a stretcher. He left all his medical findings with the registered nurse on duty, he said.
He said the woman was never conscious. After calling the next day to check on her, a nurse from the hospital returned his call and told him they were keeping her another day.
The nurse told him he saved the woman’s life and wished there were more men like him in the world.
On Friday, Aug. 30, an ER nurse at Memorial Hospital confirmed the woman had been admitted to the hospital the previous Saturday morning and released the following Monday.
The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, is both thankful and curious about the medic who saved her. However, she said she doesn’t remember anything.
"If I could, I’d tell him ‘thank you for saving my life,’" she said. "It’s really moving, because most people probably thought I just got drunk and passed out. He took the time to save my life."
She added with a light chuckle that she looks forward to meeting Borrelli, but said she’s "done drinking for a while."
Her husband, a sergeant assigned to Hunter Army Airfield, is going beyond a simply "thank you." He said he intends to submit an award recommendation for Borrelli for saving his wife’s life.
Also requesting anonymity, he said he was watching his daughter that Friday evening when his wife went out with a co-worker.
He confirmed the man carrying his wife in the parking garage was that co-worker and said one of her female co-workers called him later the next day to tell him his wife was in the hospital.
He said he was extremely grateful to Borrelli.