I was the victim of a hit and run on Tuesday. I left work at 10 pm and was riding my motorcycle home. I was on Mount Road in the left lane and due to metro rail construction, the road had 2 instead of the usual 3 lanes going each way. Traffic was sparse, given that it was late. It was going to be relaxed peaceful ride home, at least that’s what I thought.
I had just passed the DMK offices and the only other vehicle near abouts was a Tata Maxicab in the right lane about 15 feet ahead of me. I was in the left lane. The cab driver decided to turn left into Scheme Road without any warning and he didn’t check his blind spot either. There wasn’t enough time for me to stop as he began the turn and just as I moved past him, he clipped the rear right side of my motorcycle. The bike went down on its left side and I continued forward, headlong and a few feet further. Due to the low speed I was at, I lay sprawled at the intersection a few feet shy of the pavement.
I immediately realized that I’d damaged my left shoulder and upper left back area due to the sharp pain in my ribs each time I tried to breathe in. As a crowd gathered, the cab driver did not get out and continued to stay put in his seat. The series of events that occurred from this point have pretty much erased my faith in humans.
“He skidded and fell. All of his own accord.”
A few people, whom I assume were friends of the cab driver, immediately began speaking in loud voices and kept repeating (in Tamil), “He skidded and fell. All of his own accord.” I wasn’t able to breathe properly, much less talk. In the midst of the commotion they created, a couple of other folks proposed that the police and ambulance be called. The moment they heard that, these same guys dissuaded them saying, “No need to call for an ambulance. He’s just fallen down. He’ll be able to get up and he’ll be on his way in a few minutes.” Over the course of the next 10 – 15 minutes, any voice that talked about calling for an ambulance was drowned out by this small group. They then tried multiple times, despite my vehement protests, to lift and move me out of the intersection, so the Maxicab driver could make good his escape. I heard a voice announcing that the police and ambulance were on their way and these guys became even more frantic in their attempts to relocate me to the sidewalk. I couldn’t budge and wasn’t about to let these goons lift / drag me out of the way.
While I was laying there in pain, bleeding from the road rash on both forearms and knees, I realized that my ears were getting a bit wet. Turns out I’d scraped my head as well and was bleeding from the rear-upper left part of my scalp. The goons managed to get enough of the crowd out of the way, and the Maxicab driver escaped with his vehicle into the lane before the police got there. No one, including me, got the licence plate number.
Police? They don’t do Shit.
The police arrived a few minutes later, and there were even less interested in getting me help. They were super eager to pack me off into an auto rickshaw and get me home instead of to a hospital. All this while I was laying on the road, finding it extremely difficult to breathe. I was resting my head and shoulders on my backpack. I realized I was going to have to get up on my own and someone tried to help get my backpack off, so I could try and stand up. Turns out he was trying to help himself to my backpack. As soon as he got it off me, he picked it up and moved a few feet away. Someone called out to him to give me the backpack while others tried to hail an auto. He came back with it and stood next to me till the auto arrived, at which point he began walking away with it again. I pointed to him and in the feeble voice I could manage, said “bag”. A couple of guys close to me called out to him again and brought him back. I managed to get into the auto and he was “forced” to give me the bag.
One of the policemen took my motorcycle key from me and said he’s take the bike to the E3 police station in Teynampet for safe-keeping. At this time, I have no clue if it ever made it there or if it’s there now. I’ll find out on Saturday when my dad goes over to pick it up.
I was taken to the emergency ward of Apollo (Cancer) Hospital which was closest. As I was trying to get out, a few of the bystanders had followed and the bag thief was amongst them. He once again took hold of my backpack while I tried to seat myself at in the wheelchair. The hospital staff took me in and once again he tried to slip away, but I suspect that at this point others had figured out his motive and ensured that he came along. Once in the hospital, the chant of, “He slipped and fell off his bike. No one hit him.” was resumed and the nurses and on-call doctor took over. I still wasn’t able to speak much and decided to conserve any strength I had left to describe my injuries. The bag thief made one final attempt to steal my backpack, which failed when an attendant took the bag and placed it next to my bed. At this point, I guess he figured the game was up and he left.
Screw-ups at the Hospital
The on-call doctor refused to administer any treatment, saying that I needed to make payment to get admitted. I told him that I had a credit card and would admit myself, but he insisted that I call someone. I wasn’t thrilled at all with this turn of events and ended up calling my parents; my mom picked up the phone, panicked as expected, composed herself and said she and my dad were leaving for the hospital right away. A couple of the guys that had followed me to the hospital stayed till my parents arrived, repeated the chant that I slipped and fell off the bike, before they left.
Only after my dad filled in the papers and remitted payment, did the on-call doctor begin treatment and proceeded to instructed the nurse to administer 5 cc of morphine. The nurse, clumsy clod that she was, spilled half of it in the tray, which the doctor called her out for, but didn’t ask her to replenish it from another vial for the full dose. So, I got about 2 or 3 cc of morphine, which for my body mass was totally insufficient. I was in more pain than I should have been simply due to the “don’t give a shit” attitude and negligence.
X-ray unclear. “Think” ain’t no fractures.
X-rays and CT scans followed. Fortunately, the nurse and attendant for these were not assholes and did their jobs adequately. Turned out that the chest x-ray wasn’t “clear”, but the on-call doctors (a neurologist had shown up in the meantime) didn’t “think” there was any fracture. I was further sent for a spine x-ray, which didn’t show any fracture of the vertebrae. They made ready to discharge me.
The only remaining task was to clean my bruises, apply medication and cover up the wounds. The nurse who’d been allocated the task, was simply not interested in doing it. He repeatedly tried to apply medication to my wounds without cleaning them – anyone could plainly see the sand and dirt in the cuts and abrasions, but he didn’t care. I stopped him from applying the medication and insisted that he clean the wounds first. And so, now he had to. He changed his tack at this point and as he moved from one area of bruises to the next, he tried to just apply the medication and when I’d stop him, he’d pretend he’d forgotten and only then clean the wound. After he’d cleaned and applied medication, he stopped and prepared to leave – without wrapping the wounds. At which point, I got rather annoyed and told him that I wanted all the bruises covered with gauze and wrapped so I wouldn’t hurt myself or infect the wounds by making contact with surfaces. He was just plain livid that he had to do “work” and again, he tried to cover as little as possible with gauze and tape it up. I stopped him again and asked him how he could apply tape directly over a bruised area at which point he began staring at me. I stared right back, told him to cover all the bruises with gauze and ensure that the tape only made contact with unbroken skin. At each stage of this entire process, I had to watch him like a hawk and insist that he do his job properly.
Only 3 Cracked Ribs & Fractured Clavicle.
So, I was told there were no fractures and sent home around 3 am. The x-ray and CT scan reports were to be collected at 10 am for an 11 am appointment with an orthopedist. The reports didn’t get typed up till past 3 pm the following day and wonder of wonders, the orthopedist comes back and tells us that I have 3 cracked ribs and a fractured clavicle.
I give up.
This post was earlier titled “Humans are Despicable”, but Archit‘s comment calling it a “confluence of assholery” seemed more apt.
Update: Also, I don’t need surgery. I’m merely going to suffer through the pain for the next 4-8 weeks.