Saturday, 19 September 2009

To The Girls On The Bridge

Dear Girls

I hope you enjoyed watching us today, as we battled to save the life of the poor chap who had collided with two lorries, before being thrown from his van.

I hope you got a real thrill from seeing the blood.

I hope that when you look at the photographs you took from the bridge they bring you real pleasure.

I hope that you have fun retelling the tale to all your friends.

But, most of all, I hope that the young child who was watching with you doesn't grow up to be like you.


  1. She's probably never seen anything like this before and probably never will again.

    Curiosity is not always nice but it's human nature...

  2. Is their curiosity very far from the curiosity of those of us who return regularly to read your blog? Having said that taking photos is a bit off!

  3. I guess my two real problems with these girls were the taking of photographs and the making sure that the child with them, who could not have been much more than 6 years old, could see what was going on, even to the point of lifting him up to see through the railings of the bridge. The police called up to them to get them to move on, and still they remained. It wasn't until a police officer was despatched to the bridge, that they moved on.

    Maybe my disgust at those wishing to see and take photographs is purely personal; maybe it is also felt by other professionals who work in the same environment. Certainly, those present on scene with me yesterday felt the same. I am always interested to hear what others have to say on the matter.

  4. And, another thought, before I go to sleep: is the feeling of outrage worse because we knew this man was not likely to survive? Would I have felt the same if this man had more minor injuries? Is there something here about not wanting others outside of my colleagues watching us fail to save this man's life? I wonder... Goodnight.

  5. Its interesting that as health professionals we often swap stories of particularly horrific situations, I suppose it's our way of dealing with the awful things we see. Curiosity at terrible events can take many forms and have many different motivations. I agree that this sort of grandstanding from these young women and their involvement of the child does seem wrong. If the child was a little older then maybe we could hope they were telling him what wonderful work you and your colleagues were doing and advising him about safe driving when he gets older.

  6. I suspect most people have a morbid curiosity, and at the scene of an accident of this nature, they can indulge themselves.

    Whenever I attended a vulnerable patient at an incident like that described by RRD, I always felt I had a duty to not only help the patient to the best of my ability, but to protect or salvage where possible the patients dignity.

    Sadly human nature has not changed since I served on the ambulance service. With the advent of cameras in mobile phones I suspect people are perhaps a touch more callous as a result.

  7. Thank you, Tom, I think you have hit the nail on the head when you use the word "Dignity."

  8. I once helped to pull an old gentleman out of our local river after he tried to end it all.

    When the hero who jumped into the river to get this chap to the bank and I (who stayed on the bank) dragged him out of the water barely alive a crowd of perhaps 30 people gave us a resounding cheer and a round of applause - not a single one of the b*****ds thought we could do with a hand down at the river side.

    I fully agree with your sentiments in your original post, if people aren't going to help they should kerb their curiosity and move on.

    Keep up the good work (on the road and with your blog).


  9. I agree with everything thats been said, recently i was at a double Fatal RTC (now triple and most possible quadrouple fatal) on a dual carriageway the bridge above the accident was full of people watching. it resulted in the police having to close that road as well to stop people looking.

    it was sad to see people taking not delight but morbid curiosity in watching us when it was quite obvious something terrible that had happened and not to have the respect to respect the injured and the sadly deceased to just walk on by and not sit there and gawp.

    I hate people that sit there and watch. I understand human nature is to be curious but there is a line whereas most people would go past and think oh how terrible and walk on, there is always a few that give everyone a bad name!

    anyway i will stop my rant now

    keep up the good work!

  10. Well said. Your posts like this never fail to depress me. People like this don't deserve children. Surely, they could have done the respectable thing and kept the child away from such an awful accident.

  11. I think that sadly, we are all constantly exposed through the media, particularly television, to a multitude of reality TV programmes & "real life" shows. Many people have forgotten what is really "real" and what is a TV programme. The line has become blurred giving people the feeling the have a "right" to watch & encroach in other's misfortune and horror as if it were a TV programme. We have a duty to protect the dignity of those involved and a duty to allow our amazing emergency service personnel to carry out their work unhindered by the voyeurism of ignorant bystanders.

  12. The comment by Mrs RRD has an uncomfortable ring of truth about it. Typical of my generation, I would not disclose details of my job to my family unless it was a 'nice' job. I helped deliver a baby, and was taken out by the dad to wet the babies head. On another occasion, I had to attend my sons school for a child with a dog bite, only to see my lads shiny and excited face through a classroom window. Otherwise, it was contained between my colleagues and I.

    I suspect that we have de-sensitized a generation of young people to the harsh realities of trauma via the medium of TV and reality shows.

  13. Imagine how the poor persons would have felt that were being help (if they were able) if they had glanced up and seen the stupid girls and small child, looking down, watching all - like a episode of Casualty. It's really rather sad that these small brains did not see the errors of their ways. Thank you for all the good work you do. We would be in a terrible position without this great service. We have so much personally to be thankful to the Ambulance Service for.

  14. I can understand you singling out those girls as they were the most visible to you and gawping the most blatantly, but they weren't the only ones; the first photo also shows a half-mile long queue of 'rubbernecking' motorists on the opposite carriageway.

    In an ideal world it wouldn't be like this, but unfortunately many people do have a morbid fascination with road accident scenes, a situation exacerbated by the fact that almost everyone now has on their person a device which can record images from such incidents and transmit them instantly to other people.

  15. Absolutely true, Andy. Others have also commented on this, and the fact that what can one expect. I guess, as this is my blog, it is more about how they made me feel, rather than whether they were wrong, per se. I have written about rubberneckers in the past as well, and, you are right: these girls really p**sed us all off, because of their blatent voyerism.

    It's interesting, because Medic999 has written a post about his own innate curiosity, and that of other health care personnel, me included, who will be drawn to see what's behind the curtain.

  16. Once saw a picture taking crowd cheer when the jumper we were trying to talk down from his perch fifty feet above a busy highwat finally give up and let go. The jumper died. So did a little of me.

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