A TEENAGE girl from Fermoy has been hailed a hero after coming to the aid of a man who sustained a serious head injury during an early morning altercation.
Jemma Dearden, a 16-year-old transition year student at the Loreto Secondary school, was awoken by her mother Julie after she heard shouting outside their apartment on Brian Boru Square at around 4am on the morning of Saturday, February 23.
Jemma, who has been a member of the Fermoy Red Cross for less than a year, immediately sprang into action.
"My mum said 'Jemma there is an unconscious man outside'. She rang the emergency services and my instincts just kicked in and, without thinking, I grabbed my bag and jacket and ran downstairs," she told The Corkman.
"Looking back, it was kind of weird. I didn't even think about the fact that I was in my pyjamas, I just wanted to help," she added.
Having made sure the scene was safe, Jemma went over to the man, who was slumped unconscious across the front of her mother's car.
It transpired that the 31-year old Polish national had been socialising with friends and had taken a blow to the face after becoming involved in an altercation.
"There were no obvious signs of severe bleeding. His breathing was difficult and his hands were stiff, making it impossible for me to find his radial pulse," said Jemma, who added: "After speaking to his friends I noticed blood around the man's nostrils."
She immediately put the man in the recovery position to prevent him from swallowing any blood and so he could vomit without struggling for breath.
After checking for vital signs, Jemma noticed that the man was becoming very pale and was still unresponsive. In addition, his breathing was rapid and his pulse was very weak and irregular.
After the gardai arrived, the man began coughing and vomiting blood, so Jemma propped him up and monitored his vital signs until his breathing and pulse became regular, and by the time paramedics arrived his body temperature began to rise again.
"I must admit it was weird and wonderful putting the skills I had learned in Red Cross to the test. Anyone who has done first aid will know that treatment can only extend life, not save it," said Jemma.
"I was really happy that I was in a position to provide care for the man until the paramedics arrived," she added.
A Red Cross spokesperson said they were proud of how Jemma had reacted to the situation.
"Her training and prompt action helped save this man's life."
The Corkman learned that the man spent two days in the intensive care unit of Cork University Hospital following the incident.
An agricultural contract worker, he and his friends were making their home when an altercation developed with another group outside a fast food restaurant.
The Gardai would like to hear from any witnesses on 025 82100.