SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

October 7, 2013

Our view: A simple act of caring saves a life

We are often reminded by public safety officials and senior care workers to check on our neighbors, especially if they are elderly and living alone. But in these overworked, overscheduled times, when the people living a few houses down the street are strangers and our eyes are locked on a television, computer or smartphone screen most of the time, how many of us actually do?

Lisa Buswell did, and she likely saved a life in the process.

Buswell is the owner of Boston Hair Salon in Marblehead, and she has a long list of loyal clients. One of them is an 82-year-old Girdler Street resident who has a regular weekly appointment at the salon.

Last week, however, the 3 p.m. Thursday appointment time came and went, and Buswell’s client didn’t show. It was the first time in seven years the woman had missed an appointment without calling first.

“I got a little concerned, so I called her several times, and there was no answer,” Buswell told reporter Jonathan Phelps.

Buswell then called William Bassett Jr., a former neighbor of the woman, and asked him to stop by her house.

“I said there was something terribly wrong. You have to get in,” Buswell said.

Barrett, who noticed the woman’s car was in the driveway, was eventually able to get in the house through the kitchen. He found the woman at the bottom of the stairway.

She had fallen the day before and had lain there for 29 hours with a fractured leg and hip and broken ribs. Barrett called 911 and paramedics took the woman to Salem Hospital, where she is recovering from surgery.

The woman is alive today because of a simple act of kindness and caring on Buswell’s part. And it’s a gesture the rest of us can copy.

“We’re always happy to go check on something,” police Chief Robert Picariello said. “We would rather go to the door and find out nothing is wrong than find out they needed our help.”

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