The Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust – a grisly reminder
On Wednesday morning I went for an early morning run before work together with my wife Stephanie. We both listen to music as we run, escaping into our own thoughts. As we were returning home up Bukit Batok East Avenue 2, I heard Stephanie cry out behind me. Turning around I saw her pointing across the busy intersection to the opposite side of the road. There, the figure of a man lay motionless on the road beside his badly smashed motorcycle. We hurried across the road. When I reached the man, what I saw made me feel like someone just punched me very hard in the stomach. His right leg had a compound fracture of his Femur. Where his quadracep should have been was a huge open wound with the broken bone protruding grotesquely 10cm up into the air. The rest of his body was cut and grazed where he had slid across the road. I knelt down beside him and started talking to him while trying not to look at his leg. Over the course of the next 20 minutes I stayed kneeling and quietly chatting to him as impatient car drivers honked their horns and squeezed a few inches past us on the road. The man’s name was Chan Kee Ming. He was 76 years old. He had 4 children and a number of grand children. One of his children had passed away and his wife was also dead. He clutched his mobile phone in his bloody hands. We gently took it off him and Stephanie tried to contact his family. But it was a pay as you go phone and there was not enough credit to call on it. He had kind eyes and two front teeth missing. He repeatedly told me he wanted to die. I repeatedly told him he was too tough to die. He was remarkably calm, but gradually became weaker and quieter until he closed his eyes and began drifting off. He opened them again and started groaning in agony when the ambulance staff arrived and had to straighten his broken leg to put it into a split. I wanted to vomit. As he was was wheeled off in the ambulance he looked at me and mumbled through his oxygen mask “thank you for your help”.
Its is one of my nightmare’s to come across a situation like this. I feel quite helpless. Talking to him was all I could do as I have such limited medical knowledge. It was very comforting when the ambulance arrived so quickly and he started to receive the treatment he required.
I have the utmost respect for the emergency staff, who dedicate their lives, dealing with these horrific situations every day. As Stephanie and I walked home in silence, I started to think again about Debra and her accident two weeks back. I compared what I had just witnessed with Debra’s accident. I could not help thinking how awful it must have been for Debra, the family and the bystanders at the scene. Unlike the man on the road, Debra was pinned inside her vehicle for a long time and had to be cut free. Unlike the man on the road, not one but both of Debra’s legs were smashed as well as much damage to her upper body. Unlike the man on the road, Debra was not close to a hospital. I once again thought how lucky she was to be flown to hospital by the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust. They truly helped to save her life.
I am very proud to be working with the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust for Everest 2012. Last night with the generous donation of a prize from Darren Blakeley and team from UFIT Singapore, we raised S$1000 for the Rescue Trust. It’s also very comforting to know this money is being used directly to fund a wonderful service which is saving people’s lives regularly.
Two days to go until I leave for Everest ladies and gentlemen. I am extremely excited, very fit, and as well prepared as I can be. I am ready to climb to the top of the world.