Back to Top Skip to main content

Soldier helps save life of man struck by lightning

Army Capt. Robert Blume, physician assistant, has been called a "guardian angel" for his heroic actions, June 6, 2019, after saving the life of a man struck by lightning. Blume, along with San Antonio-area first responders, worked together to help 21-year-old Joshua Favor, after he was electrocuted while delivering roofing materials during a break in a thunderstorm. (U.S. Army photo Jose E. Rodriguez) Army Capt. Robert Blume, physician assistant, has been called a "guardian angel" for his heroic actions, June 6, 2019, after saving the life of a man struck by lightning. Blume, along with San Antonio-area first responders, worked together to help 21-year-old Joshua Favor, after he was electrocuted while delivering roofing materials during a break in a thunderstorm. (U.S. Army photo Jose E. Rodriguez)

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas — At the risk of his own personal safety, a Soldier's heroic actions helped save the life of a man struck by lightning.

Many people say Army Capt. Robert Blume is a "guardian angel" for his actions. However, the physician assistant, who's served more than two decades, says he was "just doing the right thing."

While driving home after a workday supervising combat medic trainees at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Blume noticed the stormy weather was only getting worse. It was especially dark for 5:30 p.m., he thought. Blume had just talked to his son about how bad the weather was, when he was inadvertently called to action.

WEATHERING THE STORM

Bright streaks of lightning cracked through the sky, each one capturing frozen fragments of the scenery ahead. Every bolt was swiftly accompanied with deafening pops of thunder. The lightning and thunder kept raging, as hailstones spilled like marbles onto Blume's car.

Violent wind gusts and buckets of rain fell with fury all around the neighborhood. Visibility was increasingly difficult for him, but through the upsurge, Blume noticed the unmistakable flashing lights of first responders ahead.

He identified multiple vehicles – patrol cars, an ambulance, and a fire engine – all surrounding a nearby Texas home. Knowing the weather was likely a factor, he pulled into the neighborhood, hoping that whatever happened, he could help.

"I couldn't drive by without stopping," Blume said, recalling the moment he arrived on the scene. "I would have went home wondering what happened, and what I could have done."

Blume, a veteran of six deployments, is no stranger to "bad situations." However, this time, he wasn't isolated on a mountain somewhere on the Turkish-Syrian border.

This time, he was home.

"You don't expect to see this sort of thing happening close to home," Blume said. "But, there was no time to think about that, I just had to respond."

CALL TO ACTION

A deputy from the Bexar County Sheriff's Department was directing traffic as Blume approached. He identified himself to her as an Army physician assistant, and asked how he could help.

"A man was struck by lightning on the roof," she said, gesturing back to the home.

The 21-year-old man, Joshua Favor, was electrocuted while delivering roofing material during a brief break in the storm.

Without hesitation, Blume sprang into action. He parked his car, said a short prayer, and ran toward a wooden ladder in the backyard, where he climbed to the roof. Up there, he was met by first responders, who already started chest compressions on the injured man.

Blume said he thought about his Army medical training, "If this were a training situation, how could I save him?"

Favor had burn wounds exiting from both legs, and his pupils were pinpointed. As he laid lifeless, Blume felt for a pulse, but there was none. "It didn't look good," he thought.

As Favor was motionless on the roof, Blume's instincts took over. He unintentionally took on a leadership role, worked with paramedics and continued chest compressions. Unable to get the man breathing, Blume needed to open Favor's airway.

Certified in operating the airway device, Blume instructed a deputy to hold Favor's head while he properly placed it. Although he secured the device, he was still unable to get him breathing at the time, or even a pulse.

At this point "he was essentially dead," Blume said.

The next step was to use a defibrillator, but with torrents of rain still violently descending, using an electric device on the roof was too dangerous. Their only option left was to take Favor off the roof.

He called for the battalion fire chief below, "We need to get him out of the storm!" Blume yelled.

After Favor was secured into a safety harness, Blume assisted first responders by lowering him down the ladder, rung by rung. Once on the ground, Favor was put onto a gurney and taken to a local hospital.

"I did what made sense, and my Army training reinforced it," Blume said. "I kept thinking back to what worked in training, what worked on deployments, what's worked in the past and moved forward with that," he added.

Favor was eventually transferred to the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center, located at Brooke Army Medical Center at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.

However, Blume went home that evening unaware of Favor's condition. He thought the father-to-be died on the roof of that home, after he was unable to get a pulse.

"Everything sped up and slowed down at the same time," Blume recalled.

Although it felt like everything stopped in those moments, Blume guesses his role in the situation lasted roughly 25 minutes.

He kept wondering what else he could have done. He tried to compartmentalize the situation, like he'd done during his previous deployments.

On one of his deployments to Afghanistan, while working with a team in the trauma unit, Blume did open-heart compressions on an Afghan soldier, who was shot through the aorta.

Unfortunately, the Afghan soldier was pronounced dead as the Army medics placed him on the operating table. Blume was holding the man's heart at the time of death. Blume feared Favor may have a similar outcome.

On his way home during the storm, he kept thinking he just wanted to get home to his family.

Initially, his wife, Melody, was upset he put himself in harm's way.

"I was very upset with him," she said, "but then, I wouldn't have expected him to be anywhere else."

"What were you thinking?" she asked him.

He replied, "It was the right thing to do."

CALM AFTER THE STORM

The next day, everything calmed down for a period of time. Although he relived the previous night in his head multiple times, Blume carried on as if it were any other day.

He couldn't stop asking himself, "What else could I have done to save him?"

What Blume didn't know, however, was that his actions did save Favor's life. While in the ambulance, Favor responded to a supraglottic airway device Blume inserted on the roof. The local news was covering the story the next morning.

"I couldn't believe it," Blume said, "after we were unable to get a pulse for so long, to hear he was still alive was overwhelming to me."

Blume went to the burn unit to check on Favor's condition. A young lady, who introduced herself as Favor's sister, called him their "guardian angel" for his actions.

"I didn't want to intrude on the family," he said. "I just wanted to check on him."

Blume insists he was just trying to do "the right thing" that night, and praises the efforts of the San Antonio-area first responders for their actions.

"They're the real heroes," he said. They're out here every day in the neighborhoods risking their lives at a moment's call. I was grateful to help give Josh a fighting chance."

Favor continues fighting, and is still in critical condition at the Burn Center.

Disclaimer: Re-published content may be edited for length and clarity. Read original post.

You also may be interested in...

Air Force transitions all U.S. military treatment facilities to DHA administration, management

Article
10/31/2019
This October, U.S.-based Air Force military treatment facilities transferred administration and management to the Defense Health Agency. (U.S. Air Force illustration)

Congress directed this transfer in the fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Joint Army-Air Force-Navy medical partnership saves lives downrange

Article
10/29/2019
Airmen work with members of the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation team to save the life of a NATO troop at the Craig Joint-Theater Hospital on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Rau)

More than 100 medics from the 59th Medical Wing deployed

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics

DHA's management of hospitals and clinics 'all about the patient'

Article
10/29/2019
Great outcomes, a ready medical force, satisfied patients – all flow directly from a patient-centered approach. As DHA assumes responsibility for military health care facilities across the entire Department of Defense, we aim to operate each hospital and clinic so that it improves the lives and health of our patients. It’s more than a pledge – it’s our mission. (DoD photo)

Great outcomes, a ready medical force, satisfied patients

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | Military Hospitals and Clinics

State of the art procedure is the first within DoD

Article
10/28/2019
Retired Capt. Eugene Chalaire was the first to undergo an intricate cancer-preventive procedure performed at Womack Army Medical Center this summer. Womack is the first within the DoD to offer this service. (U.S. Army photo)

Only a handful of medical centers in the United States perform this surgery

Recommended Content:

Technology | Military Hospitals and Clinics

No effort spared to bring home seriously wounded Soldier

Article
10/17/2019
Air Force Capt. Natasha Cardinal, 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron critical care nurse, monitors her patient during a flight from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan to San Antonio, Texas. Critical care air transport teams are rapidly deployable teams consisting of a physician, critical care nurse and a respiratory therapist who provide a mobile intensive care unit for complex, critically wounded patients. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Mancuso)

The priority the military places on saving the lives of its service members is unparalleled

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics

TRICARE website expands to include military hospital sites

Article
10/16/2019
The TRICARE website is growing. As of Oct. 1, TRICARE welcomed several military hospitals and clinics to its website.

By 2021, more than 350 individual military hospital and clinic websites will move to TRICARE.mil.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Soldier self-amputates leg to aid battle buddies

Article
10/9/2019
Army Spc. Ezra Maes undergoes physical rehabilitation at the Center for the Intrepid, Brooke Army Medical Center's cutting-edge rehabilitation center on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Oct. 2, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Corey Toye)

If I didn't help myself, my crew, no one was going to

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Warrior Care

Naval Hospital Pensacola transitions to DHA, stands up readiness training commands

Article
9/20/2019
Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Joren Seibert uses cryotherapy for wart removal at Naval Branch Health Clinic Jacksonville’s primary care. Seibert, a native of Galesburg, Illinois, says, “I started in the Navy as a deck seaman and can now proudly say I’m a hospital corpsman. The people we care for deserve nothing but the best. Being able to directly help those folks every day is what keeps me coming back and what motivates me to continue being a better corpsman." (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel)

To support the transition, Navy Medicine is establishing a co-located readiness and training command

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | Military Hospitals and Clinics

A surprise delivery at Fort Bragg’s maternity fair

Article
9/19/2019
Pamela Riis (in pink the pink top) learns more about the use of nitrous oxide during labor at the semiannual Fort Bragg Maternity Fair. More than 300 pregnant women, soon-to-be dads, parents of infants, and those planning to have a baby soon participated in the event. (U.S. Army photo by Patricia Beal)

For Linda Steadman, a certified nursing assistant, this will be a day to remember

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Women's Health | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Officials discuss Blanchfield Hospital’s future as transition nears

Article
8/15/2019
Army Maj. Gen. Ron Place, who was recently confirmed for promotion to lieutenant general and selected to serve as the next director of DHA, visited Blanchfield Army Community Hospital and Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Aug. 7 for more discussion about the hospital’s transition to DHA Oct. 1. (U.S. Army photo)

Supporting forces remains the number one priority of the Defense Health Agency

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Maxwell AFB’s medical group reorganizes, improves health care

Article
8/9/2019
Air Force Medical Service seal

The Air Force Medical Service is transforming 43 military treatment facilities

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Sesame Street celebrates 50th anniversary at Madigan

Article
8/5/2019
Army Col. (Dr.) Matthew Studer, the chief of Madigan's Department of Pediatrics, talks with Nina and Abby Cadabby from Sesame Street during a special visit at Madigan Army Medical Center on July 26. (U.S. Army photo by Ryan Graham)

As a part of their 50th anniversary tour across America, Sesame Street made a special stop at Madigan

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics

Madigan pharmacy wait time drops

Article
7/25/2019
Pharmacist Ashley Burrill fills a prescription at the Madigan pharmacy on July 23. Assigning staff to their strongest roles helped to reduce the pharmacy wait time. (U.S. Army photo by Suzanne Ovel)

The average pharmacy wait time was between 90 and 120 minutes; now, the average is 20 to 25 minutes

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | MHS GENESIS | Military Hospitals and Clinics

MHS GENESIS discussed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

Article
7/16/2019
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Michelle Rootes (center), 673d Medical Group superintendent, and U.S. Air Force Col. Mark Lamey (right), 673d MDG deputy commander, welcome U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Lee E. Payne, Defense Health Agency Assistant Director for Combat Support, and Military Health System Electronic Health Record Functional Champion, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, July 9, 2019. Payne visited JBER to discuss upcoming changes to MHS and what that means for patients and providers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jonathan Valdes Montijo)

Payne highlighted the new electronic health record

Recommended Content:

MHS GENESIS | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Puget Sound MHS plans for a joint medical environment

Article
7/15/2019
Puget Sound logo

Puget Sound MHS will transition to Defense Health Agency management beginning on Oct. 1

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | Military Hospitals and Clinics
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 6

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing: Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.