Woman credited with saving life: Greenfield resident uses belt on man’s severed artery

GREENFIELD — A Greenfield woman used the belt from around her own waist to stop a neighbor’s severed artery from bleeding after he had an accident — quick thinking officials say likely saved the man’s life.

Angel Dudley had never formally met the young man who lived in the apartment above her daughter before that moment. She’d seen Michael Orr a few times in passing, exchanged smiles and greetings as friendly neighbors do, she said.

Friday evening, their paths crossed in a whirlwind after Orr was badly hurt while doing some repairs around his home. Orr had been working to fix a window when his arm suddenly slipped through the glass, slicing through the skin and puncturing an artery, resulting in rapid blood loss.

Orr said he ran from his apartment in a panic, heading toward the nearby Hancock County Jail to see if someone there could help him.

Dudley, who had been visiting her daughter at the time, heard shouts and thumps coming from upstairs. When she looked outside to see what the commotion was, she spotted Orr clutching his injured arm on the front lawn. She shouted to her daughter to call 911.

Calmly but quickly, Dudley grabbed a jacket of her granddaughter’s from a table in the house and rushed outside. She wrapped it around Orr’s wound like a bandage. Then she took her belt from around her waist and pulled it tight around Orr’s injury, creating a makeshift tourniquet to stop the bleeding.

Somewhere in all the commotion, Orr lost consciousness, he said.

He woke up minutes later the back of an ambulance as paramedics rushed him to the hospital.

And they were honest with him, Orr said: if Dudley hadn’t been there, hadn’t known exactly what to do to treat such a traumatic injury, he could have bled to death.

Dudley saved his life, they said.

Orr was taken to Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and rushed into a four-hour emergency surgery to repair the damaged artery.

Now, Orr is home recovery after surgery, thankful for Dudley’s quick thinking and willingness to step in and help a stranger.

Even days later, Dudley is in awe of the whole situation, she said.

There are so many things that could have gone wrong, so many things that could have happened differently.

In fact, it was only by chance that she was at her daughter’s that evening; her original Friday night plans had been canceled, and she decided to swing by the house for a quick visit. Orr was injured just a few minutes after she arrived.

Dudley has no formal medical training. She picked up a few first-aid techniques in a class she took on a whim early last year that aimed to give people the skills they’d need to help others in an emergency, like a mass shooting.

She’s never needed to fall back on those lessons until now.

“Apparently it came in handy,” she said with a laugh.

Her daughter, Rainey Dudley, admits that fear spread over her when she saw Orr bleeding in the front yard. She feared he wouldn’t make it, certain he’d lost too much blood before her mother intervened.

She’s grateful her neighbor pulled through, that her mother was in the right place at the right time.

“Who knows what could have ended up happening,” Rainey Dudley said.

Orr reunited briefly with Angel Dudley after he was released from the hospital. They snapped a picture together and swapped recollections of that evening. And though his memories of what happened are fragmented, Orr said he will never forget what Angel Dudley did for him.

“Her name suits her, that’s for sure,” Orr said. “I’m thankful she was there — thank God she was there.”

Author photo
Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.