• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


    from Twitter


    Tuesday, March 14, 2006


    Today, after dropping off my wife at work, I was stopped for nearly 7 minutes at an intersection on Vo Thi Sau street. Now, traffic jams--gridlock--are common in Ho Chi Minh City because people stupidly inch their way into the intersections, blocking oncoming traffic. Then, when the lights change colors, nobody can go, because the other side is still stuck in the intersection, and it induces more people to do the same.

    Today was different. In front of me was an ambulance, sirens blaring, stuck amid a sea of motorbikes, cars, and two busses, while a soldier on a motorbike stopped in the intersection and cleared it out. Then we all waited while some fancy cars and trucks carrying soldiers passed through the intersection with flags waving. The soldiers were laughing. All I could think about was the person in the ambulance in front of me, possibly dying, family members crying and holding his/her hand, as they waited 7 minutes for this motorcade to pass.

    Seven minutes is an eternity in emergency care. Lives are saved or lost in seconds. Companies in the USA spend millions of dollars getting response times down from 8 minutes to 6 or 5 ... and this ambulance was forced to wait 7 minutes so some army big-wig could pass by unencumbered.

    It just felt wrong...

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