Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez explains to reporters how a passenger lost her arm in a freak accident at the MRT-3 Ayala station. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE
It was a miracle that Angeline Fernando not only survived but also had her right arm reattached after it was cut off in a freak accident at the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) Ayala station on Tuesday.
Transport Undersecretary Cesar Chavez on Wednesday said that, luckily for the 24-year-old software engineer, she just fell into the gap between two train cars and one of her copassengers was a medical intern.
“[Fernando’s parents] believe that what happened to their daughter is a miracle. First, there was a doctor (around). Second, it wasn’t her body that was hit by the train, and doctors were able to reattach her arm,” Chavez told reporters.
On Tuesday afternoon, Fernando felt dizzy while on the platform and fell into the gap linking the second and third cars of a northbound train. As she lay on the tracks, the train’s wheels ran over her right arm just below the armpit.
Doctors at Makati Medical Center operated on Fernando on Wednesday morning.
According to Chavez, Fernando’s parents told him that their only daughter had a history of dizzy spells, especially when she was in a crowd.
“Whenever they go to church, she often has to go out because she has a hard time breathing when there are a lot of people,” Chaves said, quoting the victim’s mother, Gloria.
Chavez added that Fernando had been rushed to the hospital before for hypotension or low blood pressure.
The train Fernando took was not crowded as Tuesday was one of the special nonworking days declared in connection with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit, Chavez said. There was also no report of the train’s air-conditioning system conking out at the time, he said.
Fortunately for Fernando, a fellow passenger who was a medical intern at Chinese General Hospital was on the platform and immediately went to her aid.
Charlie Jandic attended to Fernando while MRT-3 personnel scrambled to call a hospital.
The Department of Transportation praised the 27-year-old Jandic for her “heroism,” but she told reporters in a phone interview that “anyone with appropriate medical training would have done the same” if they were faced with the same situation.
In another interview, Jandic said she placed a tourniquet around Fernando’s arm and asked her questions to determine if she had any head injuries. She also wanted to make sure that the victim would remain conscious until the ambulance arrived.
Chavez said the Department of Transportation would still investigate the incident especially after another passenger who was at the scene criticized the MRT personnel’s lack of preparedness for such emergencies.
“I had to tell the guards, ‘Please get a medic, call an ambulance.’ Everyone was panicking. No one in the staff had the courage to take the arm from the [tracks]. Please MRT management, equip your people for this kind of situation,” Celia Castillo said in a Facebook post.
According to Chavez, the MRT staff, particularly the safety and security unit, are trained to respond to emergencies. He noted though that “at the time of the incident, there was no MRT staff on the platform” except for two security guards who assisted Fernando.
Chavez told Fernando’s family that the department would shoulder her hospital bills as well as request financial assistance from other agencies like the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office in their behalf.
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