An 82-year-old veteran from Cary, N.C. traveling through O’hare Airport had no idea he was about to fall, literally, into a life-threatening situation involving his luggage and an escalator. A traveling salesman who happened to be in the right place at the right time potentially saved his life with a product designed to stop severe bleeding.
A few weeks ago, Albert Cinquepalma was trying to make a connection at the airport in Chicago when his bag got caught on an escalator, causing him to fall backward. The escalator ripped the skin from much of his arm as he was dragged along for several minutes. Two men nearby pulled him off the escalator, but the injuries to his arm were severe and he was losing blood quickly.
An emergency care team would take 20 minutes to arrive and the first aid kit in the airport had nothing to stop the bleeding. Coincidentally, a man named Ted Russell was also at O’Hare that day.
“This guy appeared out of nowhere and said he had some stuff that could help, and he started to wrap my whole arm with this material – and the bleeding stopped almost immediately,” Cinquepalma said.
After the bleeding stopped, Russell left to catch his flight and the EMS team arrived to take Albert to Chicago’s Resurrection Hospital. Although his arm was badly mangled, following treatment he is expected to recover fully. He would have had no way to thank his Good Samaritan, except that Russell left the QuikClot packaging behind. Albert tracked down the company and was able to eventually reach Ted to thank him for his help.
“I don’t think I’m a hero. I really just did what anyone would have done,” said Russell. “I knew I had something that would help Albert and I used it. To me Albert is the hero for his service to our country in the Korean War.”
In the Korean War Cinquepalma served in the Heavy Weapons Infantry, 7th Division, 32nd Regiment, Company D for an 81mm mortar platoon. Ironically, he was wounded in combat during the war and lost a lot of blood. Surgeons then told him he was just minutes away from dying before help arrived.
QuikClot Combat Gauze is made with a blood-clotting inert mineral known as kaolin. According to Russell, all soldiers on the battlefield carry it in case of bleeding emergencies. Different versions of QuikClot are used by law enforcement and emergency medicine.