Year: 1987. Time:
about . There was a commotion near a junction in
front of a school. I was on my way home
after work and the first in line at the T-junction. As soon as I turned out to the main road I
was waved over by a policeman. He
indicated to middle-aged woman lying motionless by the side of the road and
mumbled something. She appeared to have
been hit by a car, but there didn't seem to be any motorist around looking like
he/she was responsible for that accident.
Two male passers-by carried the woman to my car. One said if I hurried, I could possibly save
her life. My mind went over several
questions. How far is it to the
hospital? How long would I take? Will she survive? They said she was still breathing.
I told them to hold on.
I opened my boot and pulled out a large sheet of plastic to cover my
back seat. They laid the woman down and
closed the doors. I stepped on it for
the all that one liter engine Mazda Jumbo was worth. On the way the woman sat up suddenly. I had not expected that.
"What's happening?" She asked.
I told her what happened.
"Who got in an accident?"
"Where are you taking me to?"
Confused, she repeated the questions while I tried to
maneuver through the traffic and find the most appropriate answers.
I knew from personal experience that sometimes accident
victims don't realize what happened to them as soon as they regain
consciousness. I said as clearly as
possible what happened to her and where we're heading. I told her to lie down and not to move
about. She blacked out again when we
arrived. Two attendants came out of the
emergency section and carried her out of my car with the help of my plastic
sheet and loaded her onto a stretcher.
It was good bye to my plastic sheet.
I'll have to get a new piece for my boot.
When I got home I realized there were a few large patches of
bloodstains on my cushion covers. They
needed a good washing anyway, but I can't remember whether I got them washed or
threw them away.
Year: 1992. Time:
about . I was on a dark stretch of road and it was
raining. Cold and hungry, I'd been
driving for more than 45 minutes on my way home. There was a single spot of light moving ahead
in the distance. It appeared to be that
of a rear lamp of a motorcycle. By force
of habit I checked my speed. When I
looked back to the road, the single spot of light suddenly disappeared. I sensed something wrong and reduced speed.
When I got to the scene I tried to find a way to drive
through. I wanted just to drive by and
get home, but my conscience didn't allow that.
I stopped my car in the middle of the road and flicked on my emergency
lights, hoping that traffic behind would notice and stop in time. There was a man lying on the road, eyes
closed, jaws clenched and limbs jerking.
I was helpless. I didn't know
what to do. I noticed a van with some
people in it on the opposite side of the road.
The driver was missing. The front
corner of the van was badly dented. I
asked if anyone had a handphone. Nobody
answered. Handphones weren't widely used then as today.
Several men were carrying a girl from the side of the
road. She was wet from the rain and
covered with mud. They carried her to my
car. I barely had enough time to cover
the backseat with a plastic sheet which I pulled from my boot. I noticed her thigh, in her long pants, was
bent in an awkward angle. They bundled
her in and waved me to move on. We were
about twelve kilometers from the hospital.
I couldn't risk speeding in such weather. I kept thinking about the guy with the
Several minutes later, she asked me what happened. I told her.
I said we're on the way to hospital.
She asked me why we were going to hospital. I had to repeat several times until she
realized what had happened to her. She
said she couldn't move her leg and it was very painful. I thought it looked like it was broken but I
didn't tell her that. I kept
talking. I told her to lie still and not
to move. When she finally got it in her
head, she said thanks. I asked her about
the guy. She said he was a friend. She asked me what happened to him. I said someone else was sending him to
hospital. I didn't know actually, but I
had to tell her that. She blacked out
again when we arrived outside the emergency ward.
The next day I took out the back seat cushions and washed
out the mud stains.
I just read Palmdoc's Road Traffic Accidents: To stop or
not to stop? which reminded me of the above two incidents. We are not all doctors. And given the notorious response of our
ambulance services (in this country), what would you do if you find that you
are the first to arrive at the scene of an accident? And if sending the victim to hospital is the
least you can do, would you? You
wouldn't want to hope for someone to return you the favor someday but no matter
how careful you are, you just can't foresee what can happen on the road.
Meanwhile blogger Kenny Sia got involved (in a way) in another
accident and had his ethics questioned by readers.
As for accidents on an expressway, that will be another
subject another time.