City College EMT Student Saves Man from Overdose

By Rachel Berning

City College student Nicholas Stallcup saved a man’s life on Monday, Feb. 3. Stallcup was waiting for a friend to catch a 11:30 p.m. train from Civic Center to MacArthur, his home station. As he walked down the station stairwell, he found a man lying on the floor, unresponsive and overdosing on opioids. Stallcup immediately jumped into action to perform CPR and restore the man’s breathing.

Stallcup has been a student at City College for about two years. His hobbies are being outdoors, camping, skateboarding, surfing, hiking and volunteering. He enjoys his career as well as going to school at City College. 

Stallcup said learning to be an EMT is a wonderful career path for students who are looking into health careers.

“CCSF’s EMT program is a great way to start an entry level career in health care and it affords the opportunity to really start helping people relatively soon compared to other health care professions,” he said. “I am really glad I chose this program as opposed to other EMT schools around the bay for sure.”

He added that the instructors at City College are outstanding and have valuable life experiences as paramedics and firefighters.

Stallcup said the recent class cuts at City College have affected the EMT program. “The class cuts have affected me by increasing the difficulty of getting the classes I need to transfer,” he said.

After the incident, Stallcup was featured by several news organizations and was formally recognized by the City College Board of Trustees at their February meeting.

City College EMT student Nicholas Stallcup, 28. Photo by Nicholas Roark/Special to the Guardsman

It was “surreal” for Stallcup to have all the media attention since he’s “fairly reserved.” He added that it didn’t seem right to receive recognition “for something that EMS professionals do multiple times a day and get no recognition for.”

“Saving that guy’s life was the right thing to do. I don’t consider myself a hero, just someone who was willing to do the right thing because he had the skills to do so,” he said. “I’m certain anyone of my classmates would’ve done the same had they been in that situation.”

When asked about drug use in San Francisco, Stallcup said, “I won’t pretend to have the answers to these problems but all I can say is from my viewpoint the rift between those who have and those who have not is only increasing, which makes me wonder what the future of San Francisco will look like in the face of the economic disparity.” 

He was careful not to demonize people for using drugs, noting that “it’s important to regard them as human beings.”

“A year or two ago the man I helped wasn’t in the position of being homeless and on drugs,” he said. “It just goes to show how quickly drugs can ruin your life, and how you can lose everything in such a short period of time. It could happen to any of us if we lost our support systems or made a few really bad choices while in a vulnerable or fragile mind state.”

The Guardsman