halfSpin (Rookie) View all posts in this topic  
Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:28 pm
Crazy and Scary Experience        

Monday evening, around 8pm, I was driving my car (it's winter here) back to work in the evening. At a major intersection, the driver in front of me slammed on her breaks, put on flashers, and jumped out. I nearly hit her, and I got out to see what the hell she was doing when I saw what happened...

A driver had hit and run over a pedestrian crossing the sidewalk. It looked pretty bad; the person was on his side, unconscious, but still was breathing and had a heartbeat. By the time I approached there was already a large crowd of people huddled around him. I didn't want to get in the way or just add to the confusion, but I also didn't want to just leave when I thought I might be able to help. This is what I ended up doing:

1) Asked if anyone in the crowd had medical training. Someone who had standard first aid/CPR was already crouched down helping the victim.
2) Gently stated/asked that anyone who is not helping take a few steps back to give them some room.
3) Double checked that the person who had his cell phone out was calling 911. There is a phenomenon I learned about in a social psychology class called the bystander effect, or bystander apathy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect), where often times everyone assumes that someone else is helping in a crowded emergency situation and is hesitant to get involved.
4) Waited next to my car until I saw the police in the distance. I then started flagging traffic to turn off of the busy street to make room for the police, fire truck, and ambulance to drive up.

After the cops got there, I waited for a few more minutes then left. My car was just blocking traffic at that point, and since I didn't directly witness what happened (there were 5-6 people there who did), I decided I was just in the way and left. No police or EMT approached or talked to me.

What would other people have done in a similar situation? I am wondering if I helped at all, or was just in the way more than anything. I don't have medical training (I am a medical researcher, but the PhD not MD type of doctor), but since I knew about the bystander effect I thought I had an obligation to make sure that everything possible was being done to help. Was I just being bossy, or helpful?

I am also considering a first aid kit and a road flare kit in my car. Does anyone have any tips for emergency equipment that might be handy?

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