Philippine Red Cross on hit-and-run incident: Responders not to blame

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) reiterated its mandate to save and preserve life, dismissing the blame being heaped on its responders for their supposed failure to save a boy who was hit by a car in Manila on Monday, August 26. 

The 6-year-old boy died after being hit by a white Toyota Innova along Roxas Boulevard in Manila on Monday, and local policemen who came to the scene told the media there that the victim would have survived had the PRC responders not refused to bring him to the hospital. 

In a statement Tuesday evening, August 27, the PRC said emergency responders should not be blamed, since the child had already died by the time they got to the scene. It said the policemen were first to arrive at the scene, not the PRC responders. 

The responders would have brought the child to the hospital if he were still alive, but once the victim is dead, the PRC had to follow another set of protocols, which included not allowing its ambulance to be used to transport cadavers. 

"If the assessment of the police and the PRC emergency responder was that the child was alive, he would have been been brought to the nearest hospital. In this case no signs of life were established." the PRC said in its statement. 

In its investigation, they found out that the police from Ermita Police Station 5 were the first to arrive at the scene of the incident. 

According to them, by the time they responded to the scene – which was approximately 10 minutes since receiving the report from the police station – the boy had stopped breathing. 

The group also cited their standard operating procedures following the Department of Health's national policy on ambulance use and services, which states that "ambulances shall not be used to transport cadavers."  

"The intention of the Red Cross is to save lives – that is why they were at the site of the incident. Why would they go there in the first place if there was no intention to bring the child to the nearest hospital?" PRC said. 

PRC urged the authorities to continue its investigation to complete the account of the the incident. The Manila Police District has yet to issue an official statement on the incident.   

Authorities have arrested a certain Benito Lim, owner of the car who hit the child. According to an ABS-CBN report, the suspect escaped the scene because he was scared of the mob possibly hurting him. 

In a 2015 National Statistics Office report, figures of hit-and-run accidents remain alarming despite its decreasing rate over the years. – Rappler.com