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Local nurse honored for saving life on Fla. vacation

The tiniest of decisions made by Leisa Arter more than likely saved a man’s life in January.

While vacationing in an upscale neighborhood in West Melbourne, Fla., Arter went outside for a walk one afternoon and, instead of going left, decided to go right.

That brought Arter, who has been a licensed practicing nurse for 34 years and currently works for Parkview Health, face to face with a man who had been stabbed multiple times.

“There was no reason,” she says now of the decision to deviate from her routine. “I decided to change things up a bit.”

Arter went from “vacation mode to nurse mode” instantly, she said. She began rendering first aid to the bleeding man, who had begged for help from others standing by only to be rebuffed.

The bleeding man, in fact, did not faze Arter. The lack of people willing to help him did, though. One man even walked inside his garage and shut the door, she said.

“The only thing I thought afterward was disbelief in the community not helping him,” Arter said.

Her efforts saved the man’s life. He had an artery severed in his arm because of his wounds, which needed surgery to be repaired, according to West Melbourne police.

On Tuesday, the West Melbourne Police Department honored Arter with its Civilian Life Saving Commendation.

“She exemplifies a true life-saver,” West Melbourne Police Chief Richard Wiley said during the ceremony via Skype.