A helping hand to save a hand
By Danielle Sendou Ringgit
Dr Dalvinder Singh thought it might be just another one of his regular work trips down to Kuala Lumpur when he arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) from Kuching on May 13th until he heard a child screaming.
Looking around, he saw a father holding his two-year-old boy at the bottom of an escalator.
“I thought the child fell down initially, but then I saw that he had his hand stuck in the escalator up to his forearm,” said the 29-year-old Sarawak health assistant director.
Due to the nature of his job, Dr Dalvinder did not panic, acting on the first thing that came to his mind instead which was administering aid to the child.
With the assistance of some maintenance staff at the airport, they managed to free the boy’s hand.
Bleeding, cut and bruised, the tendon of the boy’s hand was exposed and Dr Dalvinder was quick to administer help to secure the bleeding.
After the encounter, Dr Dalvinder urged parents to be in vigilant with their children when using the escalator.
“Do make sure that children stay away from that gap and know where the emergency stop button is to stop the escalator from moving,” he said.
As children’s bones are much softer and smaller than adults’, it tends be much easier for their limbs to be stuck in the gap along the sides of the escalator.
“If you wait too long, the blood supply would be affected and it can cause the cell to die and infection can set in,” he said.
“In some cases if the bleeding is too profuse, you may have to amputate to remove the child because it is better to sacrifice the limb and to save a life,” he added.
It wouldn’t be the first time a kid has been caught in an escalator mishap in Malaysia. As recently as February this year, a three-year-old lost his foot in an escalator mishap at KL Sentral.
While inattention, negligence and lack of awareness have led to many escalator incidences, the obsession with social media and handphones can also be contributing factors.
According to Dr Dalvinder, it is worrying that his recent experience showed him how most people seemed more interested with their phones instead of helping and connecting with another human being and in this case, a traumatized child.
“The boy had his hand stuck in the escalator for 15 minutes before I came and nobody was doing anything to help but instead started taking out their handphones to take photos and videos,” he said.
“This is getting too much because we have a child stuck down there who clearly needed help and everyone seemed to be more concerned with their phone. That is worrying because your action shows what is from the heart.”
However, social media is not all bad and has been be used for good causes.
Through the incident, Dr Dalvinder opened a Facebook page ‘Help Somebody’, and with the help of his brother made it a social enterprise connecting people to make a difference in the community as well as a platform for those in the community to contribute and share stories of helping others.
“Instead of showing viral videos of people suffering, you can use it for good and promote this kind of thing and get people to come on board and make a difference,” he said.
“Aside from that I am very active in community service and I thought that this would be fantastic to get people to come on board.”
Lifetime of community service
Having been involved with the Red Crescent Society (PBSM) since his schooling days, Dr Dalvinder has always been active in volunteering and community work, with numerous volunteering experiences under his belt.
Among the places he has been to do volunteering work include Haiti, Myanmar and Nepal.
Since graduating from medical school Dr Dalvinder has been serving in Sarawak for six years.
Feeling close to Sarawak, he is also active in volunteer and community work such as organising mobile interior clinics in interior of Sarawak, community work with orphanages and the latest one in Bau last month.
“People are looking at me like I am a hero, but I am just like anybody else. In my opinion, it is not something heroic but it seemed like a natural thing to do.
“You do what you can, but I just happened to be in the medical line. People have been saying ‘Well done’ and stuff like that, and I told them, well you can do the same thing too.
“No one can help everyone but everyone can help somebody.”said Dr Dalvinder.