Niv Ron was driving across Ponce de Leon Boulevard on Jan. 22 when he noticed a young woman on the sidewalk to his left. The woman did not appear to be injured, but “looked very panicked,” according to the sophomore engineering major and former medic in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).
Ron got out of his car and ran to the woman, immediately noticing an open wound on her upper leg. Of the two or three other people standing around the young woman, Ron was the only one with medical training. He took control of the scene while the others called the police.
“She was losing blood, so I took off my shirt and basically tried to stop the bleeding successfully,” Ron said. “I did that, and once you do it and basically block the arteries, you can’t let go. So I had to hold it, and in the meantime, I spoke to her.”
According to Ron, the woman, also a UM student, was fully conscious. He took her pulse, instructed her to calm down and made jokes to keep her calm.
Ron said a University of Miami Police Department (UMPD) officer told him that the student was standing on the curb when she slipped off the sidewalk and was hit by a car as she fell.
UMPD recognized Ron in its annual ceremony on Wednesday for helping save a fellow ‘Cane’s life. For the Miami-born student, however, the recognition felt undeserved.
“This kind of behavior or this action-taking should be a given; it should be a default,” Ron said.
Ron moved to Israel with his mother when he was about two years old and enlisted in the IDF when he was 18, as is required of adult Israeli men. He served for three years, then traveled for two years before coming to Miami to study at UM.
After spending the majority of his life in Israel, he says he was shocked by the many cultural differences in Miami. His course of action at the scene of the car accident was one of those differences.
“In Israel, you’d probably get a pat on the shoulder saying, ‘You did good,’ and that’s it,” Ron said.
The student’s mother contacted him after the accident, thanking him for helping her daughter.
“We think it was divine intervention that you were there in that moment,” the message read.
Despite his distaste for the spotlight, Ron says he will use the UMPD platform and his own personal plan to elucidate the misconceptions people have about Israel, an issue that is very important to him.
“I think that the judgment toward Israel is influenced by misconception,” Ron said. “Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of information – all of those things that Americans see as very basic – Israel is the only country in the Middle East that actually allows those liberties.”
Ron said that for Israel to be grouped together with countries such as Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to drive and are stoned for infidelity, is unfair. Many people have ideas about Israel that are completely disparate from the reality, he said.
“I’m very determined to bring it to the public awareness,” Ron said.
When it comes to helping others, Ron insisted the university provide some basic medical training for students to help better prepare them for inevitable accidents throughout their educational career and even later on.
First Aid training for first-year students is what Ron suggested to improve the culture of bystanders who are anxious about being sued for helping out a fellow student. Medical training could help reduce fatal injuries and lawsuits by ensuring all students have a foundational skill set to assist an injured person until paramedics arrive.
“People get hurt and supposedly the students here at the university are friends; we need to all help each other, at all costs,” he said.