South Africa is currently awash in racial stirrings – even hatred in some instances. It’s so sad. There is one place, however, where skin colour means absolutely nothing. That’s on a crash scene. The only colour that counts here is red – the colour of blood – and it’s the same red for all writes Patrick O’Leary.
It is on such scenes that emergency services and paramedics don’t give two hoots about the colour of your – or their own – skins. They work together with one aim – to save the lives of the injured. I have seen it many times and saw it once again over the Christmas holiday period.
Philip Hull, head of Community Medical Services, was driving on the N3 behind a bakkie when he saw the rear tyre of the bakkie burst. The bakkie veered off the road and rolled through the median. The canopy was ripped off and people were thrown from the back as it rolled, eventually coming to a stop on the other side.
Hull immediately stopped, grabbed his medical kit and set about evaluating the injured so as to begin treatment. There is a procedure followed by paramedics on all crash scenes to identify which patients get treated first depending on the severity of the injuries. He was treating his sixth patient when two guys appeared behind him. “Can we help?” Hull looked up. There were two black guys in ‘civvies’ clothes. They too had been driving back to Johannesburg and stopped when they saw what happened.
“What can you do?” asked Hull.
“We’re paramedics,” they answered.
Hull was thrilled. He pointed to his bag of medical supplies and the two guys got to work treating the other injured. It wasn’t long before other emergency services personnel arrived and although from different services, everyone worked together as one team. I was on the scene and it was amazing to watch. As the various ambulance services…