An ambulance in my midst

Today I had to run home during lunch. To my surprise, there was an ambulance and large crowd in the courtyard outside.

Ambulances in China have a terrible time getting anywhere in China, as much roadside traffic doesn’t really care that it’s an emergency. Add to this people’s general avoidance of ambulances. The vehicle is more seen as a conveyor of hopeless cases from concerned family or friends. Most people will avoid an ambulance, as it’s almost synonymous with hearse. Needless to day, the appearance of one in my courtyard got my brain turning.

I live in an area housing many elderly people. At morning Tai Chi (around 7AM nowadays, but closer to 6AM in the summer) the yard is packed. Morning exercise is quite an institution here, and while osteoporosis runs rampant in older women, they keep extremely active. The afternoon’s ambulance left me wondering where the empty spot would be. It also made me think of a paramedic’s heartache here: residences under eight stories high in China only have stairs. The buildings here have six. This means no rolling a stretcher, and their boards can’t always manage the tight stairwells well. That difficulty in motion, as well as uneven stairs (some slightly higher or wider than others) must add heaps to response and transport times.

It can’t be an easy job, servicing the 13 million or so residents of this city.

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