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Thread: Another Dead Motorcyclist and an Interesting Question

  1. #1
    xyzimgone is offline Lost in the Woods
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    Default Another Dead Motorcyclist and an Interesting Question

    Last Friday night, around 2am (actually Saturday morning), we were on our way to Valencia after leaving Bambulo when we came upon an accident. There was a guy laying in the middle of the road, still on his motorcycle, next to a big truck that was apparently parked. I am not sure what happened, but by appearances, maybe the guy ploughed into the back of the truck (no headlight??) and landed in the middle of the road. Well, we got out of the car to see if we could help, but he was bleeding from every orifice in his head and absolutely no chest movement. I didn\\\'t touch him but the bystanders told be he was dead and the authorities had been called. We decided that there was nothing we could do so we left.

    Afterwards, I started wondering about liability? Remembering back to when I was younger, I knew we could be sued for trying to help someone in an accident (if the accuser believed that we worsened the patient\\\'s condition). That problem was solved in many countries with a Good Samaritan Law or Act requiring us to help the injured but protecting us against legal action. I did some research and found that there is no such law or act in the Philippines.

    Now to make it interesting, here is an excerpt from the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines:

    Art. 275. Abandonment of person in danger and abandonment of one\\\'s own victim. The penalty of arresto mayor shall be imposed upon:
    1. Any one who shall fail to render assistance to any person whom he shall find in an uninhabited place wounded or in danger of dying, when he can render such assistance without detriment to himself, unless such omission shall constitute a more serious offense.
    2. Anyone who shall fail to help or render assistance to another whom he has accidentally wounded or injured.

    After discussing this matter with some friends, and being a \\\"foreigner\\\", I am glad I didn\\\'t actually touch the guy, looking for a pulse. It could have been enough to incite someone to want to sue me. I heard a story where a bus hit some people on a motorcycle here in the Philippines, and, instead of staying at the scene, the driver proceeded immediately to the nearest police station to report the accident, thus preventing any chance of getting mauled by an angry crowd, but putting himself at risk of being charged for leaving the scene of an accident. He probably received this advice from the bus company management as part of his training. In any case, in the future, I will think twice before even leaving my vehicle at the scene of an accident until a Good Samaritan Law gets passed in this country but it would be heart-wrenching to see somebody die that might be saved with a few bandages.

    Any thoughts???

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  3. #2
    Broadside's Avatar
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    That's an interesting poser Steve, and certainly a grim situation to come across on a dark road. The conflict between what your conscience says you should do and the vagiaries of the Penal Code put you between a rock and a hard place, where you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. Within our own communities in the West, the normal reaction would be to offer some kind of help in the way of first aid. Of course, well meaning but unknowledgeable people can make the situation worse by doing the wrong thing, particularly by moving the casualty if they are unconscious or giving liquids or even alcohol if they are awake. But often someone has some knowledge of first aid, particularly former Service personnel, and it would usually be a case of calling the emergency services, then checking for a pulse, clearing obstructions (like false teeth), checking to see they hadn't swallowed their tongue, and placing the casualty in the recovery position if they are not conscious, or asking where it hurts and making them comfortable if they are awake. But that is in the West.

    Here the attitude to life and its' preservation takes on a different slant. Road crashes and injuries tend to draw crowds of rubberneckers, fascinated by the grim and macabre and with a fixation for spilled blood, but with no-one doing anything at all, just watching and maybe taking cell phone photos. That same situation happened to our late colleague Jellyfish and contributed to his demise. Such situations also attract the attention of those with no conscience, decency or morals, who would see it as an opportunity to rifle the pockets of the casualty. The onlookers may say that the person is dead, but only a physician can certify that. However, you don't need to be an expert to state the obvious, particularly if the head is detached from the body. Your heart says help; your head says be cautious. It's a quandary. But any physical involvement by you (us) as a foreigner could later be misconstrued and make you part of the problem even though you were actually trying to be part of the solution.

    I think everyone would deal with that scenario as they saw fit, depending on the circumstances. For my part, I would stay in or on my vehicle, ask if anyone had called the emergency services, drive away from the crowd, call them anyway giving location and a brief description of the situation as it appeared, and then drive on.
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    Well....

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    As "Broadside" already stated, as a Foreigner, if the area is populated, look the other way, if you are alone out in the bush or on a back road, I would help as much as I can...
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    sfgb35 is offline DI Member
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    I always stop and offer assistance, however several times, i have felt extremely intimidated by the reactions of the people at the scene. One time i even felt violence was about to ensue . . I made for a sharp exit ! Now i still help but with a little more caution.

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    We witnessed a similar thing on the way to siaton a couple weeks ago outside the petron gas station at zambongita, two bikes ontop of each other and a woman having severe convulsions under one of the bikes,hope she was ok but it really looked bad. The friend who were with me both bought helmets the next day.
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    PatO is offline DI Forum Luminary
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    Old military actions were: Stop the bleeding; protect the wound; treat for shock. However, for motorcycle injuries you have to be concerned if the spine - neck or back - was injured and if so if you move the body you may possibly cause paralysis, so I would add keep the head and neck stable, if you are going to assist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatO View Post
    Old military actions were: Stop the bleeding; protect the wound; treat for shock. However, for motorcycle injuries you have to be concerned if the spine - neck or back - was injured and if so if you move the body you may possibly cause paralysis, so I would add keep the head and neck stable, if you are going to assist.
    Now the US military requires every solder, including the paper pushers, to take, and pass, a CLS (combat life savers) course. This involves dealing with wounds as you mentioned but also deals with administering IVs, sucking chest wounds, CPR and other things that in the past were left to medics. They did advise us that while dealing with the civilian population you should never attempt these techniques, aside from CPR and giving first aid to open wounds as we could be held liable in court if something were to go wrong.

    But as you mentioned, with accidents you should never move a person, unless he is in imminent danger (such as being on a poorly lit highway where he would likely get ran over, in which case you should still be very careful moving the person). Here I would be very reluctant to help anyone as they might try to come after me for medical expenses or funeral fees. The "blame the nearest white guy" syndrome here really makes me want to look the other way.

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