Quebec Coroner Speaks out about bystander apathy after man’s death

A man hit a by a subway train in Montreal’s Langelier station lay helpless and bleeding for another 16 minutes before paramedics arrived. It took another three minutes before paramedics were able to attempt resuscitating the man. Due to his injuries, he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards, but the coroner in the case is speaking out about the apathy train riders and train operators displayed between the time the man was hit by the train to when paramedics finally arrived.

Radil Hebrich had been drinking, and went past the yellow strip on the edge of the platform at Langelier station when his head hit the side of a passing train. He fell on the platform, bleeding. Surveillance footage shows numerous people passing by him, and not one single person helped. The operator of the next train that entered the station got out of the train to take a look at Hebrich, who was still lying on the platform. He kept his distance, and left. The operator of the third train to enter the station finally called 911. No one at the station thought to call for help. No one thought to stay with the man until help arrived. The case speaks to a psychological quirk of humans. We tend to wait for someone else to do something. It may be a psychological phenomenon, but it’s something every single one of us can fight if we want to. We can consciously decide to be that someone if we want to. Sadly, in this case, it took 16 minutes for someone to do that.

The coroner, Jacques Ramsay, notes that the 59 year old man may not have been saved even if paramedics had been called to the scene earlier. But he also notes that waiting 19 minutes for paramedics to begin resuscitating him probably didn’t help his odds of survival.

Ramsay suggested the STM, Montreal’s public transportation authority review safety protocols.

The mentality of waiting for someone else to take action is ingrained in society. It’s hard to say how a person would react in such a situation unless they’d been in a similar situation in the past. But it can also be said that humans can consciously make the decision to be the one to help. No one else is helping. Someone else isn’t here to help.  It time to be that somebody, and help out. In this situation, the least someone could have done was call 911 and waited with the man until help arrived. Maybe ask if someone had any medical experience, and knew how to help the man. The coroner said that the extent the man’s injuries may have been too great, but it never hurts to try.

No matter how much of a rush someone is in, helping an injured person is worth every minute it takes. Today, it may be someone else who’s in need of desperate help, tomorrow, it could be you. Wouldn’t you want the same kind of help?

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