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Colin Tham
Monday, Sep 15, 2014

Singapore

Bus inches forward but they refuse to budge

The New Paper | Colin Tham | Monday, Sep 15, 2014

Senior instructor Ambrose Lee (above) in a first aid demonstration.

On their way home after work, they spotted a male cyclist sprawled on the road.

As first aid instructors with the Singapore Red Cross, the pair sprung into action to help the man who was groaning in pain. But as they were tending to him, another man rushed forward claiming he knew first aid and began moving the victim. Recognising he was making all the wrong moves, the pair told him to stop before he did more harm than good.

Mr Ambrose Lee, 27, was relating this story ahead of World First Aid Day, which falls today.

Recalling the accident that happened two years ago, the senior instructor with the Red Cross for six years recalled it was around 8pm and he was taking a lift home from his colleague, also a first aid instructor.

They saw the accident between the cyclist and a white Volkswagen at the junction leading to Potong Pasir Avenue 1. Mr Lee said the driver, a woman in her 40s, had called for an ambulance.

Although the cyclist had no visible injuries, the man in his 50s was moaning in pain from an injury in his left leg. Said Mr Lee: "He was dazed and confused, but was able to respond to us when we talked to him.

"He was able to give us his consent to cut open his trousers to examine his wound." They also tried to keep him awake and prevent him from losing consciousness.

Suddenly, a young man in his 20s appeared, identifying himself as a first aider. He lifted the cyclist's right hand and clasped it in his hands while asking: "Uncle, are you okay?"

Mr Lee added: "You should not move the casualty of an accident as he may have a spinal injury. Anyone who claims to be a first aider should know this. "Being certified in first aid is different from carrying out first aid itself.

"In this case, ignorance of proper first aid procedures nearly led to additional injuries to the cyclist." They quickly told the man to put his arm down and to direct traffic away from the cyclist, which he did.

HONKING FURIOUSLY

But just when they thought their problems were over, a public bus arrived with the driver honking furiously at them to move aside.

Mr Lee said the bus driver impatiently waved them away to the side, asking them to move the cyclist to the side of the road so he could pass.

Mr Lee said they refused to budge.

"The bus driver was inching the bus forward little by little while aggressively honking at us."

He said what made it worse was that the bus passengers were also goading him on to continue moving.

By then, the bus had moved so close that its wheel was next to the cyclist's leg, threatening to crush it.

Infuriated, Mr Lee shouted at the bus driver, demanding he reverse his vehicle. The driver refused. Luckily, police officers arrived and told the driver to reverse, which he did.

Paramedics arrived shortly after, and the instructors assisted in moving the cyclist into the ambulance.

Associate instructor Syafawi Ho, 55, applied his first aid knowledge to save a woman's life four years ago.

The woman, who was in her late 20s, had suffered a heart attack and collapsed outside Anchorpoint Shopping Centre.

Mr Ho said: "She was motionless and not breathing, and I immediately identified myself as a first aider to the crowd and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on her. "I was extremely relieved when she started breathing."

He said learning first aid is extremely important, and could make a difference in a life-or-death situation.

"Everyone should take up a basic first aid course - you never know when you may need it."


This article was first published on September 13, 2014.
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