|Phan Tất Thọ (first from right) gives first aid to a traffic accident victim on the road. — Photo vietnamnet.vn
PHÚ THỌ — Phan Tất Thọ, a retired military officer in the northern province of Phú Thọ, has spent the past 16 years leading a team that rescues traffic accident victims.
National Highway No 2 runs through his hometown, Tiêu Sơn Commune, in Đoan Hùng District.
The highway, a key route connecting northern localities, has a high traffic density and often has accidents.
Seeing many people die or suffer from injuries near his house, Thọ called on his family to help start a traffic rescue team in 2006. Their work is to give first aid to victims and take them to healthcare facilities.
"Many people on the road refuse to help those in accidents because they are afraid of being infected with diseases or the victim's relatives misunderstanding their help," Thọ told vietnamnet.vn.
Since starting the group 16 years ago, being interrupted during meals or sleep is normal for Thọ. When he receives a call for help, he is always ready to come and help.
The first thing that comes to his mind when he receives a call for help is not 'saving them or not' but 'not leaving them behind'.
Hoàng Thị Sơn, Thọ's wife, said: "When he receives a phone call reporting someone was in trouble, he heads out, even on rainy nights. He said helping people is meaningful work that brings him happiness."
He recalled an accident in 2009 involving a collision between two cars that killed eight people.
Thọ said: "Many witnesses hesitated to offer help. Others were panicking. Seeing the fatal scene, the rescue team still lend a hand despite the fire and explosion risk from leaking fuel after the collision. We gave first aid to the injured and protected the scene while waiting for authorities to come."
"In every case, we offer to help immediately right after receiving calls, then give them first aid, take the victims to the hospital and try to contact their relatives. Someone will stay at the accident scene," he said.
"If we can't contact the relatives, we will wait until we can. We only leave when the victim's relatives arrive."
In 2018, Hùng Vương General Hospital presented Thọ an emergency car and medical equipment to support his meaningful work.
Since then, he has become busier as more people hear about his team.
|Thọ driving an emergency car given by Hùng Vương General Hospital to transport traffic accident victims. — Photo vietnamnet.vn
"The team at first only had a few members, most of whom are my relatives," Thọ said. "We spent our money on buying first aid equipment. Now, we have ten members."
"The Hùng Vương Hospital and the local Red Cross have supported us. Recovered victims and their relatives also come back to donate," he said.
As well as a responsible traffic rescue team leader, Thọ is also a pioneer in charity work and disseminating traffic safety laws to local people.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, Thọ volunteered to drive the emergency car to take returnees from southern localities to quarantine sites in Phú Thọ.
Thọ and his team have received many certificates of merit from local authorities, but the biggest award is the thankfulness of victims and their relatives.
"The biggest reward to me is when I hear a victim has been saved at the hospital, or when I receive the phone calls from family members saying 'thank you'." — VNS