I share this story so that we will all learn from it and probably save lives and not for any praises or vainglory motives.
I was sitting in front of the Biloxi pork joint at Ahodwo this evening and saw people rushing across the road. We enquired and were told a school bus had been involved in an accident about an hour prior, around Sir Max Hotel, about 2 minutes drive away. I was about to start chewing some Cozy Lodge Khebabs with Afia Asantewaa Boateng (Baby), but decided to drive there and see if there was any help we could give.
So I asked Baby to accompany me.
We got there and the school bus had run into the bush down the slope cos the brake and failed. We were told two seriously injured kids had been taken to hospital and one woman ( a teacher) was dead. She jumped from the bus out of fear. She had been covered with plantain leaves.
They were waiting for the police to transport the dead woman to the morgue. Apparently, she lived in the community and wailing relatives were around.
There and then I asked the people around which medical school they attended to pronounce the woman dead. The response was “oohh bra, wawu flat” ( or bro she is dead flat).
As for Baby she was busily crying , lolololol.
I pushed on and kept insisting that no one had the qualification to prove she was dead so we should examine her. I was about to feel her pulse on her carotid to see if I could feel anything and was seriously considering taking her in my car to the hospital despite the strong assurance of the Ahodwo Street trained medical trauma experts that she was dead, and then the police arrived. I was happy.
But to my SHOCK the police had one purpose in mind, to carry the dead body away. I called their leader aside and pleaded with him to take the lady to the hospital to ascertain first. He asked if the other policemen had not checked and I said no. I wonder if the policemen are taught how to certify someone dead. Smh.
So he went to the woman and took away the leaves on her head. She had deep red blood from the nostrils and from the little I know about head injuries it was more of a fractured skull and/or intracranial pressure. Bad sign but still……
His “expert” medical confirmation received through training on how to arrest thieves and shoot Kalashnikovs was given by just looking at the face. The conclusion was “oh Massa she is very dead”. Eish.
I had tried calling a doctor friend nearby for about 20 minutes to come and verify but he was not answering. The police and bystanders then picked her up and threw her awkwardly into the bucket of the pickup and left the dead woman in the car to go and take details of the accident.
I was adamant. I am the stubborn type. I kept insisting that she should be taken to the hospital first. The baby had finished two rounds of tears (the woman passes by her pub frequently) and had found her voice to join my solo Aluta. Gradually I realized more and more people were being convinced that her death had to be ascertained and the agitation started gaining ground.
When the police finally came back to the car the request for certification had caught on with some of the family matters so they joined the police in their car and on a motorbike cos I had told them to insist that she was taken to the emergency unit and NOT the mortuary as is usually done. They took off and we took off too.
I returned to my khebab and diet-free coke as we kept discussing how many people could be alive but declared dead by bystanders and the police.
I was livid with rage that some bystanders had just decided she was dead and covered her body. Even if a good Samaritan was passing by, how would he or she help? People are more inclined to transport an injured than a dead person.
How do the police decide who is dead at an accident scene? Do they have that expertise?
This happens a lot on our streets. We are not used to accidents being attended to by Ambulances and trained personnel.
As for the ambulance system and the people who man it, I will need a whole post on it. I warned that govt may import all the ambulances in the world but the attitude of those in charge and the system will make them useless, but let’s not digress.
To cut a long story short, someone informed us an hour ago that the police were taking her to the morgue but that family who followed insisted she is taken to the emergency unit first.
When they arrived, she was triaged and SHE IS ALIVE!!!!
I hope and pray she actually survives. I hope and pray that the almost two hours delay will not make her case hopeless.
But this should be a lesson to us all.
And the police should know better in such cases!