Blogging from a small part of the Internet linked to NYC.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

An observation

Just a little while ago, a girl passed out in the hallway here at the college. I was just down the hall and half saw her fall and heard her land HARD. I ran over to make sure she was okay, and guy claiming to be her friend said "She's okay, just give her some room." He picked up her phone, stood up and started saying her name, to get her to wake up.

I'm telling my own students, who are crowding around, to go to their classroom, but they just want to gawk. Hey, it's human nature.

Then I realize that the guy hasn't even bent down to even see if she's okay! He's just saying her name, like she's taking a nap! I say "Let me make sure she's breathing okay." He says "She's okay, this happened to her before." I'm thinking he's not too bright, because she fell on her face HARD! I don't want to move her, but I check to see that she's breathing, she is. I ask her a couple of questions to see if she's alert, but she out. Her eyes are fluttering. I call security and ask them to get help up here, they're on their way. Cool.

Then come "people". ugh.

There are a couple of sayings I'm going to apply here, the first from the movie "Men in Black", "People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." The second, "You can tell a lot about a person by how they react in a crisis."

There are people in the hallway saying "Why hasn't anyone called 9-1-1?", "Can't someone make sure she's breathing!", "I think she's having a seizure. Someone should put something in her mouth!"... People are just standing around looking, someone calls.. somebody, who tells them to turn the girl on her back. I say "Be careful! She could have something broken!" The person answers "But he told me to turn her over!" Suddenly, it feels like there are 6-7 people on my back rushing to get a better look. The college's Volunteer Emergency Squad, who are first responders, show up start taking vitals, someone says "Did they call 9-1-1!? Do they even know what they're doing? Tell them to call 9-1-1!" A few more security officers show up... to apparently just stand there. They're not even stopping students from walking by. By the time the EMTs show up, there's a nice murmur of "unprofessional opinions" going on. And even then, they're still criticizing what's going on. "Shouldn't they put the collar on first?" While the EMTs are asking the girl questions, people are calling, answering for her. "Yes, she fell!", "I think she's on medication.", "That guy said she had a seizure!"


People are so quick to panic, so ready to act out of fear. It simply amazes me sometimes. I take out my phone and snap a picture to capture the moment if even for myself. This is right before the EMTs carted her off.

Now, I'm not saying I don't gawk at an accident. I can gawk with them best of them. But damn, if there's an emergency, either do something to help, or get out of the way. ESPECIALLY when someone with ANY more training than you is on the scene. And... shut up, no one cares what you saw 5 minutes AFTER the fact, and what you heard someone else say. Calm down, take a breath, try to think rationally.


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