Thursday, December 6, 2007

What would YOU do?

I had an interesting afternoon yesterday. I usually go to the gym on Wednesdays after work, yesterday i didn't feel like it and wanted to get home to the puppy. I usually take the stairs up to my apartment, yesterday i was carrying tons of stuff and took the elevator...

I got onto the elevator on the first floor and there was a woman, my age, kneeling over in pain, crying. I asked the obvious question, "are you ok?" To which she told me the story of how her leg started hurting at 3pm that afternoon (it was 6pm) and continued to get progressively worse there after. She could barely drive home from work and had to pull over a number of times from the pain. She said she was from out of state and her insurance was "out of network" so it would cost too much to see a doctor. I told her from what i know of medicine (not very much) that it sounded like a blood clot and chances are, it wouldn't get better on its own. Then I offered to take her to the hospital. *

We had a hell of a time trying to get there... neither of us knew where the hospital was (note to readers: once you move in somewhere, learn where the closest hospital is in case of emergency!!) She was on the phone with her insurance and 911 dispatchers the entire time trying to make sure the ER visit would be covered and that we would be able to find the hospital. As we drove, the pain got increasingly worse to the point that she could barely breath... it was terrible, i have never seen someone in so much pain.

Once we got to the ER, we had to wait 15 minutes FOR A WHEELCHAIR (because she couldn't walk to get out of the car) and then another 10 minutes before she was triaged... she should have called an ambulance in the first place... she didn't want to have hospital bills pile up... American health care... another blog... ANYWAY, that's the story... I put my cell number into her phone in hope that this mysterious stranger i met in pain on the elevator calls me soon, so i know she's ok...

* Here is where the question comes in... would you have taken a total stranger to the hospital upon meeting her in the elevator in extreme pain? I told D that EVERYONE would because that's what people do for one another... D disagreed and out of the three people i told this story to last night, two exclaimed, "What were you thinking?! What if she was faking it so that she could rob you? What if she had a weapon in her purse?!"

Have we become this jaded and suspicious?
I don't live in constant fear. I don't think everyone is out to get me. I genuinely trust people until they prove me wrong... is this a dangerous way to live?

Would you offer a stranger in need, in desperate pain, a ride to the hospital?


sirbarrett said...

To answer your question about trusting everyone and whether that is a dangerous way to live.

The answer is yes. But we're all too afraid of living in danger these days. Certain jobs demand certain risks and one of those jobs is being a good Samaritan. I think this is where discretion comes in. Everyone needs some discretion. I'm pretty arrogant in thinking that I would be able to tell whether or not the person's pain was genuine.

Sounds like you had quite the day.

sirbarrett said...

My comment got deleted but I just wanted to say I wouldn't always do what you did and concern myself with a strangers affairs. However, I applaud you because being a good person involves taking risks, which is what you do when you trust people.

Vesper said...

i would have driven her, hands down!

Christopher said...

Given the context, absolutely. In a private apartment building elevator in Connecticut the chances of it being some sort of a robbery attempt are so remote and weird that I can't see how someone would worry about that unless they are VERY sheltered and only see the world through the news.

Erhart said...

I think I would. Natural instinct of mine.

My thought about people's fear is the legal system. Working in public safety, my priorities are as followed: liability, public safety, public awareness. It is sad that I have to follow certain procedures or act certain ways because I live in fear of being met with legal actions, regardless if I helped or hindered another. Unfortunately I believe this is the reality of it all.

Many may not think this way but I think the idea of being sued for saying or doing the wrong thing, sits in the back of their minds at times.

P.S. Good job G! Way to be a good Samaritan.

Smirking Cat said...

I have driven an old man back to his home on a hot day when he was near passing out walking home from the store; gone next door to investigate why a child was screaming/crying and no one seemed to be attending to her (she turned out to be home alone, so I invited her over to wait with me until someone got home); and offered other strangers assistance during hurricane evacuations here in FL, among other situations. So yes, I would, but yes, I also admit to the danger of the situations. I trust my gut and always let someone else know what I am doing. I would want someone to help me.

libhom said...

I think I would rely on my instincts about the sincerity of the person.

sirbarrett said...

You're right. Igloos ARE warm.

PS-Now that window has been plasticized and duct taped, things are warmer.

PPS-Speaking of the 'would you help a stranger if they were in need?' and more specifically if they were hurt and needed medical aid, here's a link to a certain "Good Samaritan" law that prevents people who are trying to help others from getting into potential danger from legal repurcussions, such as accidentally breaking someone's rib while trying to perform CPR in order to get them breathing again: