Towards the end of the first season of Stranger Things, there’s a scene where Jim Hopper (David Harbour) and Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) save the life of Joyce’s son Will (Noah Schnapp) after pulling him out of the Upside Down dimension. Hopper instructs Joyce to “tilt [Will’s] head back and lift his chin” then to “pinch his nostrils and breathe into his mouth twice: one second, then pause, then one second.” Meanwhile, Hopper counts out 30 chest compressions.
Stranger Things is set in the ’80s, although according to Global News, the way Hopper and Joyce performed CPR was consistent with modern guidelines. And a good thing, because 12-year-old Austen MacMillan of Wellington, Florida saw it and then later applied the lessons to save the life of Jason Piquette, his behavioral therapist.
According to NBC affiliate WFLA, MacMillan and Piquette were working on swim training and confidence building in MacMillan’s family pool. They were practicing to see how long they could hold their breath underwater. “We both held our breath like for a minute, a minute and a half,” Piquette told WPTV. “And I said, ‘OK, I am going to do it one more time and like try to get to two and a half minutes.’ And I said to him, ‘Just tap on me when I’m about a minute 40 [seconds].’”
Obviously that went wrong, and Piquette lost consciousness. “My lungs started to fill up with water, and I went from the shallow end at the bottom of the pool because I let all of the air out of my lungs,” he said. “I went to the bottom of the pool and sank. And then I started to raise up a little bit, and I started to drift to the deep end.”
That’s when MacMillan took action. As you can see in the video below, he dragged Piquette out of the pool, called for help, and then started chest compressions, everything you’re supposed to do in this kind of situation. “Don’t freak out, don’t panic, and try to learn from the situation and try to help the person,” MacMillan told Fox News affiliate WSVN.
Florida boy saves man’s life with CPR he learned from Stranger Things
“I was doing the compressions, but I wasn’t doing the breathing,” MacMillan said. “[He] woke up a few minutes later.” MacMillan’s dad then called 911.
According to Piquette, the compressions allowed the water to leave his lungs, saving his life. “Every doctor, everyone, has said I should be dead,” he said. “I am so grateful to be alive, and so grateful that Austen stepped up and saved me.”
So what have we learned? I’m not saying that watching TV will always save lives, but in this case it did, so we’d better watch more of it just to be safe.