ON AUG 10, on the way to lunch at the food centre across the World Trade Centre, I saw a sports car smashed badly on its left side.
A policeman was directing traffic. Also directing traffic further down the road was another policeman. He was standing near an ambulance van, which had smashed into the sports car.
My first thought was that everything was under control as the police had arrived and perhaps administered first-aid. Then I saw a man re clined on the driver’s seat of the sports car.
From a distance, I could not gauge his condition but assumed that he was not removed from the car perhaps because some bones were broken and he could not be moved. Later, a colleague who was at the site of the accident told me that he heard the policeman said that the accident victim had stopped breathing.
The driver had been moved out and the passenger moved to the driver’s seat. It was only after at least 15 minutes from the time of the accident that the ambulance arrived. No medic could have helped the driver by that time.
There are some questions to be asked. Are our uniformed professionals trained in basic first-aid?
If the two policemen at the accident scene were, why did they not move the victim out of the car to provide resuscitation?
Were there others in the lunch-time crowd who could have administered first-aid? I was surprised that the victim, who was reported later to have died immediately after the accident, was not moved out of the car and tended to.
We only have a few minutes to revive a person. If our uniformed personnel are not trained in first-aid, then I would call for a training programme.
It will be beneficial too if there is a national campaign to teach first-aid and life resuscitation methods to all our citizens.
YEE JENN JONG
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ST Forum Aug 19, 1994
MR YEE JENN JONG‘S letter “Conduct national drive to teach life resuscitation” (ST, Aug 15) has highlighted an important need: Improving the community’s awareness of the importance of knowing first aid and life support measures so individuals can look after themselves, help others manage minor injuries without panicking and offer help to those involved in accidents.
The Singapore Red Cross Society recognizes this need and has set up a Centre for Life Support Training with the sponsorship of Singapore Pools. Its role is to educate the community on the need to learn life support measures and to offer training programmes, general and specialised, to the community to help train instructors for community groups. Towards this end, we have conducted courses for the public, uniformed groups, foreign maids, nursery school teachers, care givers, air stewardesses and factory workers.
Together with similar minded groups in the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour, Civil Defence, St John’s Ambulance, National Safety Council we are quietly working towards a programme to serve a need that Mr Yee has so cogently pointed out.
DR YEO KHEE QUAN Chairman Singapore Red Cross Society