Medical student who helped injured biker calls for more first aid training
- Credit: Wajid Rehman
A medical student from Ilford is calling for more first aid training for the general public after assisting at the scene of a road crash.
Wajid Rehman, 21, recalled seeing a Mercedes collide with a motorcyclist who had been walking near the British Heart Foundation store in Cranbrook Road, Ilford shortly before 1pm on June 26.
The final year biomedical student said that he took control of the scene, called the ambulance and gave them live updates of the patient’s condition while they were on route.
London Ambulance Service confirmed that the man was treated at the scene for head and arm injuries and taken to hospital.
Wajid said he was shocked by suggestions made by members of the public which he felt could have exacerbated the casualty’s condition.
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He claims that he prevented people from intervening in potentially dangerous ways - including taking off the man’s helmet, putting him on his back, or taking him off the road.
Wajid wants first aid training to be taught in schools and workplaces, so that the public know how to react in an emergency.
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He said: “Every citizen should have basic life-saving skills handy when such catastrophes occur, as lack of knowledge or awareness leads to unfavourable outcomes for victims of these catastrophic events.
“I’m trained in first aid that you are meant to tell people what to do – so if you take over the situation, you are meant to just point at someone and tell them ‘you call the ambulance, you get blankets, there’s a pharmacist on Cranbrook Road, you get the pharmacist’.
“Some people wanted to move him and resuscitate him, some people wanted to cut his clothes, and I could tell nobody was first aid trained,” he said.
According to Wajid, some of the suggestions made could have led to an internal bleed or exacerbated a spinal injury.
He said: “The only time I would've personally moved him is if no breathing and heartbeat were detected, then the priority would change to chest compressions and keeping blood pumping in his body.”
According to the London Ambulance Service (LAS), a call was made at 12.57pm and an ambulance crew, incident response officer, advanced paramedic, and a medic in a car were sent to the scene.
The London Air Ambulance was also dispatched and, according to the LAS, the first medics arrived in under three minutes.
Wajid, who one day hopes to be a heart surgeon, is now trying to convince public health bodies to push first aid training more aggressively to the general public.
He is trying to get support from his university medical professors and has also reached out to Ilford South MP Sam Tarry, Redbridge Council leader Jas Athwal and St John Ambulance.
Wajid said that he wants to persuade the Department for Education to push first aid training in “all stages, all systems, and levels of education”.
He added: “As a first aider being able to help and support a casualty and their family on what could be the hardest day of their lives is an honour and a huge pleasure.
“Everyone should be first aid trained to ensure casualties have the best chance of survival.”
In addition to first aid changes, Wajid believes that structural changes are needed to the road where the crash happened near the new Ilford Station entrance.
He suggested that a new set of traffic lights, metal barriers between the pavement and the road, or a variable reduced speed limit around the bend could be implemented.
Redbridge Council and St John's Ambulance did not respond to requests for comment.