Survey Research Can Save Your Life!

by Joshua Tucker on April 19, 2012

in Public opinion

Literally. As NBC news reports:

Most people may not enjoy getting phone calls from pollsters, but one Manhattan woman’s life was saved by such a call Monday night.

Bobby Berlin was going into diabetic shock in her Upper West Side apartment when she received a call from a Marist College student conducting a public opinion poll about Mayor Bloomberg.

When Berlin answered the phone, the Marist student on the other end of the line sensed something wasn’t right.

“Something just sounded off,” he said. “It was just really heavy breathing and panting.”

He called in his supervisor Daniela Carter, who asked Berlin if she was OK.

Carter stayed on the line and called 911. Responders determined the address Berlin had given authorities was incorrect, but the FDNY was able to track down the right address using her phone number.

“The man from the ambulette said I would have died during the night,” Berlin said later.

I guess another way to look at this is as an especially powerful example of how attentive interviewers can help reduce missing data…

[h/t to Pat Egan]

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