Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What an eventful evening it was

Meera (my wife) and I bought a new cycle, a gift for our daughter turning 9 today and both returning back home from Yelahanka new town. It was around 8.25 pm and I was driving the car.  I noticed someone lying flat on the footpath near the Kendriya Vidya (KV) school on the Doddaballapur road. For a flash of a moment, I thought he was drunk and fallen down but within another wink, I also saw a bike lying next to him. ACCIDENT!! 

It was bit dark and the street light was very dim on that spot.  That stretch of road didn't have anyone other than us. I pulled over the car, asked Meera to follow me and started sprinting towards the victim. I wanted to save him.

When I reached, I saw the man with bloodied face and a huge bump (swelling of a tennis ball size) on his forehead above his left eye. His eyes were partially closed. There was blood all over his face. My mind was rushing for a solution and I wanted to first assess the situation. He was not drunk. There was no bleeding. I started tapping his shoulders by screaming him to wake up. Was he breathing? I checked his chest movements and couldn't find any movement. Oh my God! how can you put this man in this situation? how am I going to handle this? will I be able to save him? what if he was already dead? there were many thoughts running through my head.

At the same time, I shouted for help and asked Meera to call the ambulance. I also dialed 100 on my phone, kept it on the speaker phone in my pocket while I continued to shake him up. I was able to connect to the police control room immediately and spoke to the operator, started describing the accident and the location and called for help.

My mind was constantly telling that this man was not breathing and I should attempt the next step. RESUSCITATION! I have no clue on when he fell down.  He was probably knocked down by a speeding car.  I couldn't assess how long he has been lying down like this. I was thinking that if this man was not breathing then I must make an attempt to give CPR. It was a big decision to make. I was only trained on a dummy once, just last Saturday, and I wasn't sure if I will be able to to perform a CPR on a human who is presumably clinging on to his life. Or probably he is already dead. Or probably his body is preserving energy and he is fast asleep. While my mind was filled with all such thoughts I was continuously tapping his shoulder and shouting to open his eyes. Within 5-6 taps, all of a sudden, I heard a "puff..." sound from the man's mouth. It was the most miraculous experience for me. I found this man was alive and trying to move his eyelids. He was barely able to open and his eyes were covered with blood and dust - possibly from the fall. HE WAS ALIVE AND BREATHING!

I continued to shout for help and within seconds, Meera was able to get through the Ambulance emergency. She too narrated the scene and was screaming for help. By that time, there were few passerby bikers and cars, few curious and few wanted to support, that place was suddenly crowding and I was there, in the center of everything. 

Someone was checking his pockets to look for his identity. There was another found his broken cell phone scattered next to him and he was looking for some numbers to call. There was another man turning on his cell phone torch light to bring some light to that place. Someone was sprinkling water on him. There were suddenly so many helping hands extending at the same moment.

I kept one hand below his head and I was continuously taking to this man, assuring him that he was doing fine and he was going to make it. I also asked him to tell me his name. He opened his eyes and was responding....through the tiny opening in his mouth, he said something. I thought I heard it as "Anand"... With my broken Kannada I was screaming, "Anand, nothing happened to you, it's just a small accident and you will be alright!" There were many others bending down and providing their assurances to Anand. I asked Anand to smile. Anand smiled. It was a magical one.

I received another phone call from the police control room and the lady assured me that the ambulance was already dispatched and would arrive in few minutes. She also said a police too would come there. There were two other gentlemen who rushed there in a bike, must be Anand's friends. Everything was happening so fast.

Within 5-6 minutes I was able to hear the ambulance siren and after a while, the ambulance swiftly pulled next to us. The stretcher was opened, 4 of us lifted Anand and took him inside the ambulance. He was then rushed to the government hospital. There was a moment of joy there - all the men and the only lady who were part of that scene were happy, jubilant and victorious.  Everyone started clapping hands and everything ended as if it was designed to be the most beautiful day.

I went back to my car, gave a big hug to my wife and drove back home. I started weeping and I didn't know why. Meera was a huge support to me. She was my crew and we were heading back home with mixed feelings. There were so many men came to help and everything looked perfect to me.

After reaching home, I called the police control room and requested call me back and inform about the condition of Anand. I narrated this experience with my children and also while I was washing my blood stained shirt, I received another phone call - the lady from the police control room said "Sir, this man is in the hospital and getting treated for head injuries and he is out of danger".  I thanked her for bringing a smile in my face.

I thanked the God for keeping this man alive and also helping his family not to go through a horrific experience. I also thanked God for giving me the courage to rush towards him. I also thanked the God for bringing all of us through the accident spot to be with him when was lying down in the footpath with no one noticing him.

The time is 1.30 am now and I'm still not able to sleep. Anand's injured face is all our my home, in my bed, now appearing in this laptop, I'm not able to take him out of my thinking. I wanted to tell this compelling story to each one of you.

I have learned many things from this experience,

I don't think all of us are capable of saving lives the way a doctor would do or a trained paramedic professional would do. So what could be our role! DON'T IGNORE if you find someone is caught in an accident. STOP AND CHECK - not everyone is drunk and not everyone deserves a fall like that. Even if someone was drunk and met with an accident this person deserves to be saved.  When there is an accident the in the onlookers mind there is a sudden curiosity to see whats going around.  Its typical find many stopping their vehicles and gathering around the victim or simply rubbernecking - the act of 'witnessing' can go on for many hours but remember the victim needs immediate attention.  I've seen the support pours in when the first person decides to LEAD THE CROWD  

There is nothing like "well someone will take care" kind of situation when it comes to responding to an accident scene where no one is else around. RUSH, ASSESS, and possibly provide FIRST AID and if situation demands attempt a CPR or any other method (including TALKING / SHOUTING and through POSITIVE THOUGHTS) to keep him alive. If you are not trained but aware or CALL FOR HELP. There are hundreds of helpful hearts around us. PLEASE DO NOT IGNORE 

While I pitied for Anand, I was angry with him.  He was careless.  He was not wearing his helmet. He could have had a fall, but could have brushed the dust and continued to drive back to his home or to his workplace had he worn his helmet. Nothing that happened would have happened today. There is a family waiting for you BE RESPONSIBLE.

I strongly recommend this point. Get a training on CPR/FIRST AID. There are thousands of lives lost in this country, many are due to lack of first aid, lack of awareness to saving lives, fear of something that you don't know. I find this day beautiful because last Saturday morning I attended and received my certificate fo the First Aid/CPR training at the Nightingales Center for nursing, Kasturi Nagar, Bangalore.  I was so fortunate, so fortunate to be aware of the procedures.  I never ever imagined that I will get a live opportunity to put my training to practice. So, GET TRAINED as soon as possible, it doesn't cost much to get the training. Imagine how powerful each one of us could become. We can respond swiftly to such situations without any hesitation.  ENCOURAGE OTHERS your family members and friends to get trained too.

Finally, many of us have the fear of not knowing what will happen to us if we care for a victim in an accident scene. We have the Good Samaritan law to protect us. After the ambulance left, I found a traffic constable Mr. Nataraj in the scene. He also had to rush to that spot from somewhere after hearing about this accident. He neither asked my name nor interested in knowing where I lived.  I also found that the emergency numbers like 100 worked, number 108 worked yesterday.

I want to FEEL POSITIVE about this experience. I'm very certain I'll sleep peacefully now because I know tomorrow will be another beautiful day. It is my daughters birthday, she is going to smile after seeing her bicycle.  All of us are going to smile.


P.S This incident has created a deep impact in my life and I've already initiated a campaign "Be Safe! and Be there to Save" through Sahaya - learn more about this here...

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