|Local police investigate a traffic accident in HCM City's District 7. A survey conducted in the Cho Ray and Viet Duc hospitals said that the main causes of traffic accidents were speeding, irregular passing and drink driving. — VNA/VNS Photo Manh Linh
HCM CITY (VNS) — Nguyen Thanh Thuan (not real his name) of District 8 quit his job, and nearly everything else in his life, after his 13-year-old daughter died in a motorbike accident last year.
Not content to stay at home, Thuan goes out every day, often taking his motorcycle somewhere to sleep in the evening, according to his uncle.
At home, he can see his daughter's picture. The memories return and he yells, screams and cries.
"My daughter died because of me," he tells those who try to comfort him. He doesn't want to speak to anyone, he says.
His wife is the same. Every time she sees her daughter's picture, she starts to cry.
The daughter was hit by two drunk men on motorbikes as she was returning home on the way back from a friend's party.
At the hospital, she fell into a coma and died six days later. Doctors said the girl, who was not wearing a helmet, had sustained a brain injury.
Thuan and his wife are not alone in their grief. Many parents have had to endure the loss of a child killed or seriously injured in a traffic accident.
Nguyen Thi Kim Lan, 53, of Binh Thanh District, lost two children. One was four years old and the other was a university graduate.
"Where are you?" she often asks when she sees the children of her neighbours.
She and her husband feel very alone at home.
"Going out and staying inside, I see the photos of the two children at the altar," Lan said. "Losing beloved children is the worst feeling."
Nguyen Huu Nhung of southern Dong Nai Province, whose son was paralysed in a traffic accident three years ago, said the family sold everything to have money for his medical treatment. She even mortgaged her house.
Her son, Nguyen Huu Dat, has a brain injury and will probably not recover.
Nhung said his back has ulcers and she does not have enough money to pay for treatment.
No support services
Gayle Di Pietro, global manager of Global Road Safety Partnership, said there was little counseling or support for patients or families affected by serious traffic accidents.
Dr Duong Minh Man, head of Cho Ray Hospital's Brain Injury Ward, said that both relatives and patients suffer from mental and material damage.
The additional costs besides medical treatment fees are high, he said, adding that the number of victims with brain injuries caused by traffic accidents at his hospital had not fallen in the last 10 years.
More than 100 victims of traffic accidents die at his hospital, and 2,000 are injured each month, he added.
A survey on helmet use of patients at Cho Ray and Viet Duc hospitals -two biggest trauma hospitals in northern and southern Viet Nam- this year showed that brain injuries accounted for more than 47 per cent of 2,784 patients involved in traffic accidents, followed by neck, jaw, leg and arm injuries.
The main causes of the traffic accidents were speeding, irregular passing and drunk driving, according to the survey.
Of the 2,000 surveyed patients at Cho Ray Hospital, nearly 89 per cent had worn helmets, and 9.2 per cent had not worn them. According to Man, the quality of helmets used in Viet Nam is often subpar.
Remeberance day for traffic victims
The National Safety Committee has organised many activities in response to the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic victims, held on the third Sunday of November each year.
On Sunday, a requiem for victims of traffic accidents will be held at Bai Dinh pagoda in the northern province of Ninh Binh and Dam Sen Park in HCM City.
On the same day, Radio the Voice of Viet Nam will devote the entire day to programmes on traffic safety.
Mass communication campaigns on traffic safety began at schools across the country on November 11.
In HCM City, representatives of the National Safety Committee and Asia Injury Prevention Foundation on Friday will present gifts to 10 families affected by serious traffic accidents. They visited traffic accident victims at Cho Ray Hospital last Saturday.
From November 11-15, representatives from the National Safety Committee will visit families of deceased victims, particularly those with financial difficulties, in Ha Noi, HCM City and the provinces of Thai Nguyen, Bac Kan, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, Long An and Tien Giang. — VNS