x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Quad bike accident made worse by lack of first aid

Girls felt lost in the desert seeking basic first aid.

A quad-bike accident left Anum, who did not want to disclose her last name, and her three friends stuck in the desert outside Al Ain, not knowing what to do next. It was a bad day made worse by ignorance of first aid principles.

After she lost control and was thrown off the bike, Anum's friends heard her screams and ran to help. They found her covered in blood and unable to move.

Luckily the accident, which happened about a year ago, did not have serious consequences. Still, it was terrifying.

"I didn't know what happened," said the Pakistani, born and raised in Al Ain, recalled. "It was so fast, I just went flying off. There was blood everywhere."

Her friends, in shock, were unsure what to do.

"We saw her crying on the sand, there was blood, and she was screaming about her ankle," said one. "We were scared to move her, so we just left her until we thought of what to do.

"I don't know any first aid stuff, none of us did, even she didn't ...we didn't have a class at school or anyone coming in to teach us. It could have been useful that day, though."

After 10 minutes of panicked dithering, the group decided to help Anum stand up and abandon the rented quad-bikes in the desert.

"We thought maybe call the ambulance, but she was talking and we could carry her, so we thought we can take her ourselves," said her friend, an Emirati did not want to be named. "Plus, no one thought she [had] actually broken something."

In pain, Anum walked with her friends' support to a car and was taken to the emergency room at Tawam Hospital.

"It took us like 40 minutes to get there, and by that time I couldn't stop crying, because I had already walked on my leg so much in the desert," said Anum, now 20. "If we [had been] prepared with at least plasters or bandages or something, it could have been much easier.

"We didn't call the ambulance because we didn't think it would be such a big deal, but the doc said we should have."

But a year after the accident, neither Anum nor her friends have taken any steps to rectify their lack of first aid training. Nor do they plan to.

"Where can we go and get it?" said MN, Anum's friend. "If I tell my mum she will actually laugh at me, she will say, 'you want to be a doctor now?'"

osalem@thenational.ae