Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Good Samaritan

Interesting isn’t it that ‘Passers by are prohibited by UAE law to provide medical intervention, such as moving victims and providing cardiac pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), unless trained to do so’ and yet ‘Too many people are bystanders when it comes to accidents and life-threatening emergencies in Dubai

Yet this is the confusing message published here in the Gulf News. The news article wants people to phone 999, and appears to encourage the public to attend lifesaving courses, and yet if you were to touch a casualty this would in all likelihood earn you gaol time.

It would be very difficult for me to prove in court that I’m qualified in First Aid. I have certificates to prove it, yet my Residence Visa specifies me as an engineer, not a paramedic. What would I do if I were first upon the scene of a cardiac arrest? Call the ambulance and then wait for twenty minutes and watch someone die, or spend those twenty minutes doing CPR? The former would in all likelihood result in a corpse; the latter probably would too, but with the added complication of incarceration, claims for blood money, a criminal record and deportation.

Maybe the ambulance could be on the scene in the four minutes necessary to avoid the risk of permanent brain damage for the victim. But there have been horror stories of the emergency services taking ages cruising round and round The Greens looking for the right villa.

I want to help, I’m trained to do so, and yet UAE law prohibits me from possibly saving a life.

Compare this with the cliché of the missionary doctor in Darkest Africa being informed by the village chief: “If my son dies, you die.” I had hoped that we’re all beyond this attitude, although it seems we’re not.

It isn’t limited to the UAE, though. I heard of a diving instructor who saved a choking diner’s life through prompt use of the Heimlich manoeuvre, only to be sued for breaking one of the ungrateful victim’s ribs. However, I drew a blank with Google, so this may be a myth.


Anonymous said...

If faced with the real situation I know that you would give CPR. To hell with the consequences. You would try, and so would I. Cheers, Pegs

Grumpy Goat said...

You're right. A couple of years ago I encountered a collapsed Arab in the street. He was unconscious at first, but came round enough to confirm he was diabetic.

A mouthful of sugar water later, and he came round just as the ambulance arrived. At which point I disappeared into the woodwork, having caused him to break his Ramadan fast.

Anonymous said...

And if you were 'caught' giving CPR to a woman, the 'kiss' of life would more that likely get you a few hours in a cell full of bearded men with rubber hoses before jail and deportation.


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