Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Accident - The Transport

We were planning on going to the far east side of the island earlier in the day, but remembered we had an 11:00 a.m.meeting with the FM managers to demonstrate how to use a crab box for the sound in the chapels.  This delayed us until about noon leaving on this hour or so drive.  If we had traveled earlier, we definitely would not be driving by a truck accident that had just happened and the two people we transported to the medical facility would have had a much longer wait for needed medical help.

The accident was by the area called Tiavea just past the large reservoir on the island.  It's a remote stretch and so people tend to go rather fast through this area.  Fast is a relative term - 40 mph top speed in most cases.  Samoans also to ride on the back of trucks and some even take naps on the load of coconuts.  And, as things go, it was raining!

We saw a group of people gathered by the side of the road and as we drove past noticed the large flat bed truck in the ravine and people down there looking after someone that had been hurt.  We determined that we needed to stop and see if we could help.  We were the only car on the road in both directions.  They hurriedly asked us if we could transport two men that had been hurt the worst.  One was laying on the bed of the truck with a very dirty cloth draped loosely overa very bad wound on his left leg just above the ankle.  The other man was sitting on the road side and they told us he had a neck injury.  With some quick moving of all the equipment we carry in the car, we lowered one of the SUV seats so the man with the leg injury could lay down and the other man sat in the seat.  The medical facility on this side of the island is about 1/2 hour or more drive from where we were.  On went the emergency flashers and off we went to the medical center.  By the way, neither man spoke English.

All along Samoan roads there are speed bumps and pot holes.  Theron hit one speed bump too fast and groans abounded in the back seat.  How bad he felt, he just couldn't see it and get slowed in time.  We are not familiar with this part of the island nor where this medical facility was located so when we determined the village was close, we started asking those along the road where the medical center was located.  Upon arrival, the nurses brought a gurney, but they couldn't lift him onto it, so they brought a wheelchair.  People standing by took charge and moved him - as he grimaced with  pain.

The fellow with the neck injury was lifted up and out of the car and a fellow helped him walk into the care room.  Not sure how he will fair with a neck injury.  Our ambulance lacked a lot of equipment and comfort.  I walked into the care center to see the wound on the man's leg and it was gross, The wound was about three inches in diameter and deep enough that we could see what appeared to be crushed bone and some pretty torn up tissue. There was plenty of  blood and stuff (that's a good medical term) oozing out.  I know that they often don't properly treat severe injures of limbs here, it's easier to amputate and ambulate than repair and rehabilitate.  We wonder what his outcome will be.  We just don't realize the quality of the medical care we have back in the 1st world.  Shortly after we arrived another car pulled in with a couple of the other men who had minor injuries.

We finished our work and then traveled back towards Apia.  When we came upon the wreck site, we saw 4 guys still sitting on the grass.  These fellows had been riding in the truck.  One was in the cab with the driver (the neck injury) and the others had been riding on the back of the flat bed on top of the load of coconuts.  Three were able to jump off or were thrown clear as the truck rolled, but the fellow we transported with the leg injury had been sleeping on the coconuts and he received the worst injury, I can't imagine how violently he had been thrown around.

The remaining men were staying with the truck until they could get it towed, so we gave them our stash of power bars and taro chips and headed on to a satellite training at Nauvu.  We're thankful that we could help in a small way. We wish these guys a quick recovery.  We now add emergency medical transport service to our list of missionary activities.  Love to all.

(The truck is facing opposite the direction of travel.  It slid sideways on the road and then rolled once.  The metal sides of the truck were torn off and most of the bags of coconuts are actually under the truck.  One of the men stated that they were traveling too fast.)

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