Patient close to hospital dies, stuck in traffic

2012-12-12 01:27:38 GMT2012-12-12 09:27:38(Beijing Time)

Emergency physician Wang Yuzhu hardly knows anything about the woman whose life she tried desperately to save.

In an incident that has become a cause celebre online, Wang's patient, a woman in her 50s, died last Friday in the back of an ambulance, even though the hospital was only a stone's throw from where she was seriously injured by a concrete mixer.

The life-or-death journey proved too long in Beijing's afternoon rush hour.

"The scene of the accident is no more than 3 kilometers from the hospital, yet it took us a good 40 minutes to arrive there! Barely any cars made way for our ambulance! So woeful!" Wang wrote on Weibo.

"As a doctor, I feel regret for the loss of a life; and as a citizen, I feel helpless," wrote Wang, using the screen name Monica-Xiaomo.

Wang has worked at the Beijing Emergency Medical Center for over a decade.

Wang's experience was reported by the Beijing Evening News and her post copied more than 30,000 times on Weibo.

Some Internet users lambasted the lack of social ethics among drivers, who are often seen illegally maneuvering in emergency lanes or parking their vehicles on bicycle lanes or sidewalks.

"What cold-blooded souls they must be! How can you expect such drivers of little morality to make way for ambulances?" said Internet user Heikaixin.

Some, however, noted that the misuse of "privilege vehicles" like police cars using their sirens without having any emergency has led to the mistrust or even disgust among the public.

"I have to say that many ambulances and police cars misuse sirens even without any emergency tasks. The true murderer of the woman is the loss of trust," added user betty-lmw.

Wang refuted the rumors of misuse of sirens by ambulances, saying that their vehicles are supervised by the central command center and they only use sirens when it is really necessary.

"Actually, we are also the victims of siren misuse by other privilege cars," Wang said. "People would indiscriminately think that we are the same as them. Out of distrust or disgust, they refuse to make way for us, too."

Zhang Shaojun, who was driving the ambulance during Friday's incident after having worked at the center for several years, said about half the drivers on the road would not make way for his vehicle.

"Some drivers would purposely slow down ahead of me if I signaled them to move to other lanes," Zhang complained.

Wang said the ambulance couldn't get by. "Many cars were parked on bicycle lanes that night, making it impossible for us to proceed."

"It is hard to say this really reflects on the lack of social ethics among the public, but I do hope that people won't park their cars in emergency lanes, or in case of emergency, people could move aside a little," she added.

Editor: Yu Runze
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