Emergency: shall I help or not?

Yesterday I was shocked. Coming out of the house I saw a homeless person laying in the middle of the road where cars come and go. He couldn’t get up. His head and hand were covered with blood. One of our acquaintance saw him and asked if he was OK. I was curious who he was talking to then when I saw the homeless man I was shocked.

I didn’t know what to do. At the same time I was in hurry to go to work. Shall I call ambulance or not? Shall I leave and take it as if nothing happened or shall I stay. I was confused and scared. I was afraid the man would die. He couldn’t stand up and was lying in the middle of the road.

My acquaintance left. He didn’t want to be involved. But he was like a motivator for me to help the homeless man. I was left alone. One car came but instead of stopping he evaded the homeless man. I didn’t dare to touch him. But didn’t know what to do either. I searched for the ambulance number and called 104. Someone took the call and said “Ambulance”.

I told them there was a man lying in the middle of the road and couldn’t stand up and the address. From the other end, the woman sounded furious and told me to do what she said. She told me to

  • Go near the man
  • See if he was unconscious
  • See where he was bleeding
  • See if he was breathing
  • Check if he had alcohol smell
  • She asked me if he was homeless.
  • After all these checking she asked me the address and my name.

I was surprised by the fact that she raised her voice against me. But then I realized she needed to calm me down to know the situation. Because that’s what she will forward to the ambulance who come out, so they can prepare to save the person in danger. She told me to wait until the ambulance came. I waited. But I was nervous. I was in hurry. I needed to go to work. But I can’t let the man here alone. I had to stay until the ambulance came. Shall I leave or shall I wait?

Another man came and lifted the homeless man to the sidewalk and left him there, so at least the cars wouldn’t hit him. Then he left. The homeless man stood there for a while trying to regain his energy. Then he suddenly started to walk away. He crossed the street, arrived to the other side of the road where there was a park. Then he collapsed there. He couldn’t stand up but was trying to sit.

1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes…10 minutes… the ambulance was still nowhere. I was checking every minute to make sure I can still arrive to work. I needed to call my boss to tell him I would be late. But I have just changed mobile phone and the SIM card didn’t save my boss’ number. I had to run back to my house for the old phone to get his number. I called him nervously with frightened voice, telling him I didn’t know when I could arrive to work.

After calling him I called the ambulance again. Telling them the man walked to another street which wasn’t far from the original one. I told them to send the ambulance quickly. There was another man who stood near the homelesss man. It looked like he was going to stay there for a long time. I wanted to go there and asked him to take care of the homeless man until the ambulance came but I didn’t dare to. What if he didn’t wait until then? What if the ambulance needed to question me because I reported? My mind kept telling me to wait. So I waited and waited.

After 5 minutes the police car’s siren was getting louder and louder. Finally they arrived. That man waved them. Two police car came and they stopped there. They already asked that man what happened and went to check the homeless man. I ran there to tell them I also called the ambulance and asked if I could leave. The police woman said if I didn’t witness what exactly happened to him then I could leave.

Finally I got to go. I was running to my workplace and arrived with 10 minutes late. I was still terrified after all that. Many thoughts were still rushing through my mind.

Who did right?

The acquaintance who left because he didn’t want to involve? The car driver who evaded the homeless man? The man who lifted the homeless man to the sidewalk then left? Me who despite being late from work still called the ambulance and waited but left when the police arrived? Or the man who stood next to the homeless man, also called the ambulance and stayed even after the police arrived?

To be honest, there is no right answer. As all kinds of outcome rushed through my mind I can understand those who left without helping. They didn’t leave because they were heartless or busy. They left because they didn’t have enough courage to deal with the situation. They couldn’t take the responsibility for the homeless man.

However, one thing is for sure. Those who help will be rewarded. At work my boss and my student were understanding. They weren’t furious because of my lateness. They asked me what happened to the man and how I was. Though I was terrified, I didn’t have uneasy feeling. I did things I could have done. I knew the homeless man was with people who could take care of him.
But if I had left, I would have felt guilty, worried because I wouldn’t have known if the man had stayed alive or not.

That’s the reward one can ever have. The feeling of ease. The feeling when you know you have done everything you could. The feeling when you know someone is in safe.

I didn’t write this post to show you how hero I was. I want to encourage you to do the same. If you see a situation when someone is in need of help, help them!

  • Call the ambulance, police if it’s needed!
  • Try to be patient and tell them the exact situation about what’s happening!
  • As for these emergency numbers, learn them by heart, or save them in your contact list. You never know when you need them.

But the most important factor is that you need to listen to your intuition. We all know situations when someone only pretends to be in critical situation. Your intuition can help in similar case as well. In my case my intuition told me to call the ambulance and wait for them to arrive. That’s why I didn’t leave. However, if your instinct says you need to leave, then leave and call the ambulance and check the situation from far. Sooner or later you will see why your intuition said so.

Emergency number in Hungary

  • Ambulance: 104
  • Police: 107
  • Fire service: 105
  • Central help number: 112

Websites for more emergency number in Hungary here and here.

What you should do after dialing the number

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