Approximately 2:35 A.M., Sunday, April 11, 2010, there was an automobile accident in front of my subdivision. There is a large ditch (40 feet or more deep) in front of the housing development that has been the scene of several accidents in the past.
I have always been a night crawler (see AC/DC for explanation) but was actually contemplating an article for beepwire.com when I heard the noise.
I turned off the security system, looked outside, and heard someone screaming. I got some shoes, the flashlight, and a med kit and headed out the door. The chemical industry is responsible for my basic medical rescue training but I am not an EMT.
The accident was across the street about a quarter of a mile from my house. I met a young man and his wife (both in their mid twenties) heading toward the accident because the noise had awakened them.
When we arrived we found a young man had missed a turn and hit the neighbor’s house across the street. This young man had been thrown from his truck and was pinned under it. He was conscious and coherent. The air bag saved his life.
The EMT’s and police arrived in less than ten minutes of being called. They went to work instantly and the rest of us got out of the way.
I went back home and began to wonder.
Out of at least sixty people who had to have heard the crash (the noise wakened several people in the neighborhood) only three responded to offer any kind of help. Many of the people who heard this accident are too young, too old, or too physically limited to have helped. However, three out of sixty or more is obscure and obscene.
Have fear and dependence on others (like the paramedics and police) made most of us too afraid to help someone or have we evolved into a level of selfishness that has gone past compassion that involves even the chance of personal risk on the behalf of someone else?
I am no hero. I refuse to cast myself in any shape or form as a model of behavior. I have had some training but the actual urge to help is just auto pilot and unconscious.
I see several PSA’s on television on occasion that attempt to train people to be courteous and helpful to others. That kind of behavior used to be automatic.
Have we evolved or just gotten too afraid to care anymore?
The Red Cross in Alabama offers free and low cost classes in CPR, AED, and other basic rescue and first aid. You never know when you can save a life.