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Six-Year Journey of a Saigon Girl Saving Accident Victims at Night

Upon receiving news of a serious traffic accident in Thu Duc City, Kim Ngan (29 years old) immediately got into her car and rushed to the scene on the night of July 30.

The accident site was about 4 kilometers from Ngan’s home, and she arrived in about 5 minutes because she was always ready for urgent situations like this.

The victim was a male born in 2001. After consuming alcohol, he crashed his motorcycle head-on into a wall. Despite receiving first aid and intensive care at the hospital, he did not survive.

Having encountered many severe cases and witnessed deaths before, each time she received distressing news, Ngan says she still feels the pain as if losing a loved one. “”””I wish I could provide more support, and I hope everyone becomes more aware of safe traffic practices, avoiding alcohol consumption. Families should not have to face separations,”””” she said.

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Kim Ngan (in black) collaborates with medical personnel to provide care for a traffic accident victim with a leg injury in 2021. Photo: Provided by the individual

Ngan is the captain of the 911 traffic accident rescue team in Thu Duc City. The idea of establishing a rescue team came about 11 years ago after her older sister tragically passed away in a traffic accident, not being discovered and aided in time. At that moment, Ngan promised herself that she needed to take action to give people in similar situations a better chance at survival.

“”””But back then, I was just a high school student and didn’t know what to do, so I kept nurturing my plans,”””” she said.

In 2017, after a few months of participating in volunteer support teams in Dong Nai, Ngan decided to realize her plan. The specialized free first-aid rescue team for traffic accident victims in Thu Duc City was established.

She explained that at that time, there were many volunteer teams, but none specialized in first-aid and coordination with authorities to find family members or assist in hospital procedures, such as document processing for accident victims. The intention of Ngan was supported by her friends, who joined her in the effort.

All expenses for medical bandages, leg splints, and back braces were covered by Ngan from her own salary. She mentioned that a typical first-aid case costs about 50,000 VND, while cases with multiple injuries require around 200,000 VND, including neck splints and back braces. “”””But when we bring the victims to the hospital, doctors often replace our equipment with new ones, or sometimes the families of the victims, after recovery, contribute some funds to buy medical bandages. So, team members only need to put in effort,”””” the female team captain said.

In the early days of the initiative, Ngan mentioned the difficulty of reaching out to those in need because most people only knew about the emergency hotline 115 or were hesitant when receiving assistance from strangers. To build trust, she and nearly ten team members distributed phone numbers to all motorcycle taxi drivers, street vendors, and drink stalls along the 29 streets with frequent accidents. Whenever they saw someone in need, they would contact them. Every day at 9 PM, the entire team would ride motorcycles on various routes to find accident victims.

Seeing her determination and understanding the pain of losing a loved one due to a traffic accident, Kim Ngan’s mother supported her. She simply advised her daughter to be cautious on the road, then stayed up every night waiting for her daughter to return. “”””My mother is my biggest source of motivation to continue trying and ignore external criticism. Even though my mother passed away three years ago, I still know she is always watching over me,”””” the 29-year-old girl said.

This is also why the hotline phone number managed by Ngan has never been turned off, even during holidays.

The female team captain explained that providing emergency assistance to accident victims demands a great deal of medical knowledge and precision because lives are measured in seconds, and errors are not allowed. From someone who could only observe medical personnel handling severe cases at the scene, Ngan began to learn from doctors. She enrolled in a general practitioner program at the Saigon Polytechnic Medical College to supplement her knowledge and enhance her skills. As the team captain, Ngan also regularly shares her expertise in first aid, wound dressing, or handling incidents with other team members.

On average, the team receives 3-5 calls for assistance through the hotline each night, and depending on the situation, they distribute team members for rescue. In case of overload, Ngan contacts the Emergency Department of Thu Duc City Hospital for coordinated support.

Previously, the Kim Ngan traffic accident rescue team had 18 members (2 females, 16 males), but now there are 8 core members, aged 20-32. “”””The team’s rule is that members who are married can only participate when their children are over 3 years old. That’s why some members are temporarily pausing their activities,”””” Ngan explained. In addition to the female team captain being on standby 24/7, other members arrange their participation time flexibly to fit their study or work schedules.

Lam Hoang Khanh Duy (21 years old) in Thu Duc City joined the rescue team in 2019 while he was a high school student. Initially, Duy’s decision was opposed by his parents because they were concerned for their son’s safety, which could affect his job. However, the young man convinced his family with the stories of the lives he had saved.

Although the work is rewarding, there have been instances where Duy was mistaken for the person causing the accident by the victim’s family and faced physical attacks. “”””But I’m not afraid because the ultimate goal is to save lives and spread positivity in society,”””” Duy asserted.

Nguyen Thi Phuong (44 years old) in Thu Duc City is one of the families assisted by Ngan’s team. She recalled that on the last night of November 2021, she received news that her 20-year-old son had a serious traffic accident with only a 1% chance of survival. In a hurry, she rushed to the hospital. Upon arrival, the mother was surprised to see her son being supported for emergency treatment and other procedures by a young girl and two young men.

“”””Thanks to Ngan and the team members’ timely assistance, my son was saved. She is not only a savior but also like a ‘knight’ in everyday life. Now I see that in this vast city, human kindness is truly warm,”””” Phuong said.

In addition to rescuing accident victims, the actions of the rescue team during emergencies have spread to many people. The female team captain mentioned that whenever an accident is discovered, the people of Thu Duc City now know to call for help, assist in traffic control, and protect the scene while volunteers provide first aid.

“”””Aside from the words of gratitude and updates on patients’ recovery, the change in the community’s awareness and actions is a priceless gift to us,”””” shared Kim Ngan.

Thanks to their active engagement in volunteering and their contributions to improving the quality of life for the people, in early December 2022, Kim Ngan’s voluntary traffic accident rescue team received commendations from the Ho Chi Minh City Youth Union for their contributions to social work and volunteer activities for the community.

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Kim Ngan (second from the left) and members of the rescue team receiving commendations from the Ho Chi Minh City Youth Union at the end of 2022. Photo: Provided by the individual

For six years, tirelessly working to save lives through the night, the female “”””knighthood”””” still carries the fear of “”””not being able to detect accident victims in time to help.”””” “”””My only wish is to see

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