Dear Human Race

What on earth happened to humanity? What happened to respect for human life? What happened to compassion?

But wait….I’m getting ahead of myself.  Many of the people who read this here blog are not on twitter and don’t know the circumstances that brought on this little WHAT? parade.  So let me tell the story first.

Last night after work I headed on over to a complex in sunninghill to pick up a set of keys from the supervisor as a favour for a friend.  As I turned into the entrance of the complex I heard shouting, saw a bunch of young men run away and realised that one of the young men was slowly making his way towards the entrance.  When he got to the entrance he collapsed, and it was only then that I realised he was covered in blood.  Adrenaline kicked in and I was phoning Emergency Services within seconds.

The security guard manning the entrance helped the man out of the road and used his jacket as a cushion so as to keep his head elevated.  He then came running towards me begging me to help him to help the man as he didn’t have a phone and no way of contacting an ambulance.  The relieved look on his face when I told him the ambulance was already en route and that I wouldn’t leave him on his own, is one I’ll never forget.  I managed to park my car and get my “Car first Aid” kit out of the trunk and together the security guard and I managed to at least apply some gauze and a bandage to the man’s head.  Well, the security guard did the work (wearing the rubber gloves from my first aid kit) and I stood next to him explaining what he needed to do.  It was at this time that I was forced to look at the wound on this guy’s head.  It was horrible.  Just thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach.

Because his wound appeared to be rather severe I was trying to keep him talking.  With a head wound like that the last thing we needed was for him to go to sleep or pass out.  The story came tumbling out slowly.  His name is Andrew.  He was walking home with his friends when his friends started arguing and fighting amongst one another.  He tried to stop the fight and then one of his “friends” stabbed him in the head, robbed him of all his stuff and ran off.  They took everything.  He couldn’t remember his surname, nor was he able to give me a contact number for a next of kin.  He was losing blood at an alarming rate, drifting in and out of consciousness and starting to slur, and still no ambulance.

Many people passed us.  Most just stared and drove off.  Nobody offered to help, nobody wanted to be involved.  Most people probably thought he was a thug anyway.  My heart was breaking.  After waiting for an ambulance for nearly 40mins a young gentleman (and I call him a gentleman because he truly deserves that label) was leaving the complex.  He stopped next to us and offered to take the victim to a hospital.  He said that he could understand that as a young lady it would be dangerous for me to take the guy to a hospital, but he’s been watching us and we’ve been waiting for an ambulance for a long time and the victim was fading fast.  He just felt he had to do something.  He was still willing, even after I explained the risks to him in case the victim should die on us.  I have a great respect for this man…there are still some good people in the world.

We helped the victim into the car and they sped off.  The amount of blood that had soaked the jacket we were using as a cushion and the ground around where Andrew was lying was alarming.  I canceled the ambulance, completely forgot to get the keys and headed home.  Waiting to hear what happened to him.  The gentleman phoned me about 2 hours later.  He had rushed to the nearest hospital, which was a private hospital, because the guy was fading fast.  I was impressed to hear that the private hospital accepted him, even though he didn’t have a medical aid.  He lapsed into a coma shortly after he arrived and his wounds were labeled “severe”.  He was taken to ICU shortly after he arrived and the hospital assured the gentleman that they would try to stabilize him, but as soon as it was possible they would have to move him to a government facility as he didn’t have a medical aid.  The fact that they were willing to treat him though, and that they are willing to continue treating him until they can move him impressed me.  They also promised to give us some more feedback on the victim today.  The stab wound did however reach far within the brain, and even if he did survive he would suffer long-term brain damage:(

Due to the robbery he had no ID and the only information we were able to get from him was his name.  The hospital notified the police who came to get his fingerprints in an attempt to ID him.  My heart ached knowing that there might be a mom/wife/child/sister/brother/father/girlfriend at home who couldn’t understand why their loved one wasn’t coming home and we had no way of notifying them.

I didn’t sleep very well last night.  Every time I closed my eyes all I saw was blood and the wound *cringe*.  I’m feeling rather jaded this morning and it’s probably a combination of sadness and lack of sleep.  What really got to me was the attitude of people in general.  People didn’t want to be involved.  People were scared to help.  And while I’m shocked and appalled by this, at the same time I can, to an extent, understand it.  Has our country become so bad that people refuse to become involved because it is too dangerous?  And because our country has changed so much that you can no longer just help other people because the danger of you being dragged into something and being accused and tried for various things.  How very sad.  I remember a time when people would assist people involved in a car crash because the main focus was on saving a life.  These days people don’t because they are afraid of being sued for damaged or being held responsible should a victim die, even though it was not their fault.  It’s shocking!

I realised another thing…diseases like AIDS have changed us as human beings and our levels of compassion forever.  Even after I had retrieved the rubber gloves from my first aid kit I was not really willing to physically assist the victim, and I was only too grateful when someone as selfless as the security guard grabbed the gloves and was more than willing to assist as long as I was willing to instruct him on what to do.  What would I have done if he had not been there?  Would I have conquered my fear of this dreaded disease and realise that I was doing what I could, or would I have stood by and just waited for the ambulance to arrive? Or would I have found a different way of helping him without putting myself in danger?  The truth is…I don’t know. Does this make me an awful person?  I don’t really know the answer to that either:/ Could I have done more yesterday?  In this case I don’t think so.  I wasn’t alone and we did what we could and we phoned an ambulance and we kept him warm and we kept him awake, which was a hell of a lot more than a whole bunch of other people were doing.

Andrew and his family are in my prayers.  I’ll keep you guys updated as and when we hear from the police.




13 thoughts on “Dear Human Race

  1. Did you have a steak that night?
    But seriously, well done for be calm and collected and being a humanitarian.
    I don’t think I would have the compassion to assist like that.

    1. Lol @ the steak. Nope, I’m afraid I completely lost my appetite:) It has returned to normal this morning though and I was completely starving due to skipping dinner and all that.

  2. I saw your tweets, and I am happy the world still have people like you in it.

    I just hope his family can get to see him… 😦

  3. Please don’t take this as a criticism but just some useful information. Prophylatic treatement with ARVs within up to 72 hours after exposure to blood (or unprotected sex) can prevent HIV from being contracted far over 90% of cases.
    So in general – don’t be afraid to offer assistance to a wounded person, even if they are bleeding. It’s a standard treatment and readily available in South Africa from both government and private hospitals (though granted, if you have medical aid the latter is by far the easier option).
    Most medical aids (notably discovery) cover it completely (it’s in their best interest to help you prevent getting the virus and needing many years of treatments).
    Really the risk of getting HIV/AIDS from performing CPR is is ridiculously low, even with our high infection rate the vast majority of people are not infected and even if they are thanks to the availability of these treatments anybody who is potentially exposed can reduce their risk of infection to very near zero.
    I don’t blame you for not wanting to touch him while bleeding, if I hadn’t known this I may have done the same, but it helps if somebody tells you this.

    You don’t even need a prescription (since you need to take them long before a test would be positive there is no way for a doctor to verify if you need them anyway). If you had sex without a condom, or you were exposed to blood – then get to a hospital or clinic and ask for prophylatic ARV treatments. It’s simply responsible behavior and it’s actually encouraged by medical professionals, sadly most South Africans haven’t gotten that piece of the HIV education collection because their availability is fairly recent. They’ve only been around a few years.

    1. Trust me…my knowledge on the subject is good. I’ve done a lot of research on it. And it’s not about the technicality of whether or not you can do something after the fact in order to not contract HIV/AIDS. The hard facts are that even these drugs aren’t 100% effective (there is always a chance and if there is even just a 1% chance to contract AIDS/HIV there is no way i’m taking it), the medicine makes you ill and it is a long process before you know you’re in the clear. I knew all of this and all of this partially affected my decisions last night.

    2. Wow!

      Incredible sesquipedalian verbosity for a topic as banal and as the well-communicated topic of the contraction of a Dread Disease.

      I applaud you for attempting to sound wise and learned.

      Rubes didn’t take a chance, and neither should any other semi savvy individual either.

      I respect you for your selfless disregard for your own personal health and self-protection, leaping gallantly from your car, donning your george clooney ER scrubs and attending the injured bloke.

  4. Just an update –> I haven’t received any news on Andrew yet:/ The guy sent me an sms saying he’ll hopefully contact me today though…so we’re hoping for some news.

  5. I’m glad there are still people like you in this world. You didn’t have to stay and could have just carried on your merry way and nobody would have thought any less of you but you stayed.

    I probably would have done the same regarding the whole gloves/blood issue. I know about ARVs etc but AIDS quite frankly terrifies the living daylights out of me.

    Keeping poor Andrew in my thoughts.

  6. Just an update on Andrew….Sadly he didn’t make it:( All things considered it might be better this way…if he had woken up he would probably have had extensive brain damage. Still…can’t help feeling rather gutted:(

  7. It’s very sad…I think if we were the “Andrew” we’d want anyone to help in any way they could.

    I think hospitals have a rule, even if you don’t have medical aid, they have to take you in at casualties and stabilise you before they can cart you off to the state hospital.

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