'Doing nothing is not the way'
Not all lives can be saved.
But Mr Chew Lip Heng always believe in trying.
When the 47-year-old saw an accident near his block at Clementi Avenue 2 in May, the director of a creative agency transformed into a trained first-aid giver with more than 10 years' experience.
Despite his best efforts at the accident scene, the motorcyclist died in hospital.
Recalling the incident, Mr Chew told The New Paper: "This is a story that has a sad ending because he passed away. I was quite affected by the death. It made me wonder whether what I did made a difference at all."
At about 5am on May 6, Mr Chew was about to leave his flat to go to the airport when he heard a loud bang.
When he looked out of the window of his 10th-storey unit, he saw a motorcycle lying on its side and a truck.
He also saw that the motorcyclist was lying face down and curled up like a ball.
Mr Chew rushed to the accident scene with his first-aid kit.
But the sight of five other people at the scene at the junction of Clementi Avenue 2 and Commonwealth Avenue West upset him.
Said Mr Chew: "They were not doing anything and were just standing around. They assumed he (the motorcyclist) was dead because he wasn't moving."
Mr Chew found out that he was still alive.
He said: "Most people who are not trained to handle such incidents would just call 995 and do nothing. That is not the way. The only time you do nothing is when the scene is not safe to be in."
At the very least, they should have checked on the rider. And that was what Mr Chew did. He walked closer to check the biker.
Said Mr Chew: "He was not in a good shape, but I could hear gargling sounds (and) realised he was still alive."
He called for an ambulance and his training in basic trauma life support kicked in.Enlisting the help of the shocked passers-by, he straightened the man and held his head with both hands.
Said Mr Chew: "That was to stabilise him, but I was still very worried. He was unconscious and I couldn't find out what was wrong."
An ambulance arrived and took the motorcyclist to National University Hospital.
It was only days later, when a police notice calling for witnesses had its label changed from "Road Accident" to "Fatal Accident" did Mr Chew realise the man had died.
This affected him deeply.
Mr Chew mused: "I suddenly remembered his spilled lunchbox of sandwiches that night and it struck me that he was just like me. I struggled for a while. I asked myself what was the value of what I did."
A few days later, he came to believe that his actions might have prolonged the man's life.
The same could not be said if he had done nothing, he maintained.
Said Mr Chew: "There was no way I could have known he could die. What was important was that in those precious moments, I did what I could for him."
There was no way I could have known he could die. What was important was that in those precious moments, I did what I could for him.
- Mr Chew Lip Heng