Boy, 11, helps save old man's life

ONG JING MING

A trip to a tuition session for Shreeram Subramanyam ended up teaching him lessons not usually taught in a classroom.

On March 23 this year at 4.45pm, the 11-year-old boy was walking past Potong Pasir Community Centre and approaching a bus stop when he noticed an elderly man on the ground and in distress.

Concerned that the man was losing consciousness, the Primary 5 pupil from St Andrew's Junior School knew he had to help.

He checked the man's pulse and, when he noticed the man gasping for air, he alerted some people nearby.

Two men then performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the man while Shreeram dashed to the nearby Potong Pasir Neighbourhood Police Post to get help.

His timely action led to him becoming one of the youngest recipients of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) Community Lifesaver Award on May 6.

The award is presented to members of the public whose actions involved an element of self-risk and/or contributed to saving lives.

Shreeram told The New Paper: "I was scared and shocked but decided to put my worries aside and focus on helping the man in any way I could."

Thankfully, he learnt about cardiac arrest in school a few days before the incident.

Knowing how to check for a pulse was something he learnt from his family.

He said: "I realised how serious the situation was... as he seemed to be on the brink of death. Although I was very nervous, I just thought about what my family would do if they were in this situation and reacted accordingly."

After returning to the bus stop from the police post, he was relieved to find an ambulance at the scene and the man in good hands.

On recognising Shreeram's life-saving contribution, Lieutenant-Colonel Bob Tan, senior assistant director of SCDF's volunteer and community partnership department, said he hoped Shreeram's actions will spur others to learn about CPR+AED (automated external defibrillator) and that others will "step forward when they encounter others in distress".

Shreeram's mother, Madam Subhathira Sambandan, 49, said: "I am very proud of him as he was very collected the whole time.

"I am not completely surprised at how compassionate and ready he is to help others, but him managing to stay calm throughout was unexpected and inspiring.

"Our age should not limit us to be in the position to help those in need. What matters is having the spirit of helping others to the best of our abilities."

minong@sph.com.sg

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