It was an honour to help, says doctor translating for bus crash victims
A doctor at the Brockville General Hospital, Helen Hsu, went above and beyond her duties as a physician on June 4, the day a bus carrying Mandarin-speaking tourists crashed on Highway 401 near Prescott, Ont. Hsu was one of the only people that day able to communicate with the victims of the crash.
Just over a week ago, the tourist bus veered off-course, crashing into a rock wall on the side of Highway 401. Many of the 37 passengers on the bus were sent to hospitals in Kingston, Ottawa and Brockville. Three passengers have died since last Monday’s crash.
A total of five passengers were sent to Brockville in serious condition on the day of the collision.
“We knew that the most critically ill were coming to us at any moment,” Hsu said.
When the victims arrived, Hsu was the only one on hand who could speak with the passengers.
“One of the passengers who was brought in was alert and able to speak, but all he spoke was Mandarin.”
The chaos of the day was not lost on the doctor.
“To be there and to witness the suffering and the shock that they were experiencing was very difficult”
Tristan Alie, chief of critical care medicine at the Brockville General Hospital said he was proud of the way his team and his city reacted.
“People are willing to step up, and they are willing to do what is needed and willing to pitch in, which is a true testament to the hospital and the community as well.”
Other critically injured patients were brought to hospitals in Kingston and Ottawa, and Hsu also travelled to both cities to translate for other passengers.
“It was a privilege and an honour to have been there and to be able to help and offer my services,” Hsu said.
Since the crash, three of the passengers died. Several still remain in hospital.
The investigation into the crash is ongoing, and it is still unknown what sent the bus hurtling off the highway.
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