Would You Help Someone In Need?
Would you stop and help someone or just keep driving by? Perhaps some would say that they would, that is good. But as I experienced earlier this morning, in spite of seeing the accident no one dared to help the victim. However, there were numerous onlookers but they were all simply – well, looking.
The back story
It’s a Monday morning, May 20, 2013. My wife and I were going to work. Our driver usually drives her first to work then me. At the intersection of Banawe Ave. and Sgt. Rivera Ave., the traffic light turned red as we approached the crossing. Our driver slowed down and came to a halt. As the traffic in front of us whizzed by, a cyclist turned a corner. One moment he was riding his bike and another he is sprawled on the road.
Right smack in the middle of the road was a cyclist and his mountain bike. This poor guy was struggling to make sense of what happened. But no one even tried to help him out. Vehicles behind him stopped, but all were simply watching him as if watching a movie. Some pedestrians stopped to see what was happening. I did not notice what transpired in that instant only the gasp of my wife.
After my wife pointed to the man on the road, I quickly went down from our vehicle. I motioned for the driver to take my wife to work, which was less than block away and to come back. I had the get the cyclist off the road since the traffic was already moving. We went to the side and waited a few minutes for my car. Thankfully, an orthopedic hospital was just 5 minutes away.
A real dilemma: the Good Samaritan Law
During my Basic First Aid and Basic Life Support training at the Philippine Red Cross Quezon City branch, the concept of “Good Samaritan Law” was discussed briefly. In a nutshell, such law protects bystanders from any legal accountability should anything happen to the victim after extending help or assistance.
However, in the Philippines, the Good Samaritan Law does not cover such actions of bystanders. In fact, Senate Bill No. 150, No. 1402 and No. 1917 only covers donations of food and medicines. That’s a good thing, but it still falls short of what the actual concept behind Good Samaritan Law is all about.
The dilemma here is whether one should help with the risk of getting sued for whatever happens to the victim or simply go out and help. Unlike other countries where there is a reliable emergency number to call like 911, the Philippines does not have one.
The reality of the choice to help
Of course, we can talk about the legalities and issues surrounding the laws and acts related to this. But what strikes me with great discontent is that many Filipinos are not even aware of such law – or lack thereof. We simply have the choice to help or not.
In the Island of Mindoro, Philippines, residents go out of their way to help out a stranger. They carry the person to the nearest hospital without anything in return. It sound easy until you realize that the nearest hospital entails going through several rivers, over mountains and several hours of walking. They’re very lucky if it does not rain. How far will you go to help a stranger?
The choice is there, we only have to act on it.
The Philippine Red Cross celebrated its 66th year on April 15, 2013 with the theme Red Cross: Sa Puso ng Bawat Pilipino" (Red Cross: In the Heart of Every Filipino).
Basic First Aid and BLS
I am fortunate enough to have basic first aid and basic life support training. The Quezon City chapter of the Philippine Red Cross ensured that I know what to do in such cases. I often tell people that this is the training that I hope that I don’t have to use. But as it turned out, it’s a well-spent 1 week of my life. We will never know when we will need the knowledge and skills. And when this time comes, you’ll be thankful that you are capable of handling the situation.
Do I recommend people learning first aid and basic life support? Without question, yes!
You can contact your local Red Cross chapter and inquire about their programs. It’s always a better idea to be prepared and safe. Who know, someone might just need your skills and know-how. Learn basic first aid and basic life support and be confident to reach out and help others.
Inauguration of the PRC - QC Chapter New Office
Philippine Orthopedic Center
Would you stop and help someone you don't know?
There’s still hope
In the 15th Congress, House Bill No. 4347 was introduced by Representative Augusto Boboy Syjuco, Ph. D. This bill touches on the protection of first aiders and bystanders. There is still hope for people who want to help.
I cannot in good conscience leave someone injured behind. I would deeply appreciate anyone extending their assistance to help the people I love. Wouldn’t you?
I support any law that will ensure that people will go out of their way to help someone in need or in danger. But do we really need to wait for a law to tap our humanity? I hope we don’t.
In the end…
After a few hours, I called the victim just to make sure he is doing fine. To my surprise, the emergency personnel denied him of immediate X-ray services to ascertain the extent of his injuries because he did not have enough cash with him. This was a surprise since the Philippine Orthopedic Center at the corner of Maria Clara St and Banawe Ave. is a government hospital ready to accept emergency cases. This is another disappoint that we Filipinos have to contend with on a daily basis. But, this is another matter to discuss for a later date.
Would anyone actually step up and help this person if I hadn’t gone down from my car? Would he get to the hospital and get the needed medical attention if that stop light did not turn red? The truth is I have no idea. I can hope for the best, but I won’t leave it to chance. I was there and I made the choice.
Would you have done the same?