Man Loses Arm, Gains Lesson in Humanity - NBC Chicago

Man Loses Arm, Gains Lesson in Humanity



    Michael Fine says he'll never stop trying to pay back Eric Coleman for saving his life. (Published Friday, April 30, 2010)

    Michael Fine says he's going to spend the rest of his life trying to repay the man who saved his.

    On the morning of April 14, Fine was driving his convertible with the wind fluttering through his fingers when a truck crossed the center line and struck him nearly head-on.

    Driving behind Fine was Eric Coleman, who had been admiring Fine's convertible. And then came the crash.

    Without hesitation, Coleman stopped to help and noticed that Fine had lost his left arm in the impact. 

    With rags and a tree branch, Coleman and a few other passersby fashioned a tourniquet and slipped it over what was left of Fine's arm in an attempt to stop the bleeding.

    Doctor's ultimately weren't able to save Fine's arm, but he says he's just happy to be alive.

    "The loss of my arm was a very small price to pay for what I've gained in lessons in humanity," the father of two boys said from his hospital bed at Lutheran General in Park Ridge.

    Fine said he would have died from blood loss within 10 minutes had Coleman and others not stopped to help him. 

    In the two weeks since the accident, Fine says neighbors have stepped-up to deliver meals to his family, to walk his dog, and to help take care of his boys.

    "I'm just so filled with joy and gratitude for what Eric Coleman and what everyone else has done for me to get me from where I was to where I am right now."

    But Coleman -- who once saved the life of an epileptic friend and the life of a man who'd been shot three times -- doesn't consider himself a hero.  He said he just did what needed to be done.

    "It's almost instinct," Coleman said from his home Friday. "As long as that man can see his kids grow, I'm happy.  That makes me happy."