Yesterday my sister and I provided emergency medical aid to a young woman suffering from heat stroke and possible seizure at Disneyland Resort . No one else came to her aid, despite her uncle carrying her past over 100 people out of the line at Star Wars. Even an EMT in the line in front of me declined to intervene.
It took 30 minutes for a nurse and EMT team to arrive and transport her to the hospital. Her family did not know how to provide aid and it could have turned out even worse.
This is only 1 of numerous times I've intervened while others simply walked by, with the exception of Dan Springer, who helped me provide medical aid to a disoriented elderly man who fell crossing the street in San Francisco. We are both busy people. It made us both late. We sat and waited 45 minutes for an ambulance anyway, because that's what you do as a good person.
Why did I intervene?
1. Practicing what I preach - being a compassionate, courageous leader who helps people suffering
2. My knowledge of the bystander effect and diffusion of responsibility, psychological principles that are taught in any class encompassing social psychology, including AP psychology. I TAed Sam Sommers social psych class.
What do these terms mean:
Diffusion of responsibility - people are less likely to take action the more people that are present.
Bystander Effect- the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation due to diffusion of responsibility.
The 5 step process of action includes: (a) captures the attention of the individual, who (b) evaluates the emergency, (c) decides on responsibility and (d) belief of competence, and then ultimately (e) makes the decision to help or not.
This was clearly an emergency. Almost 100 people not only didn't stop to see if they could help, but they didn't get out of the way when her uncle was trying to get her out. Many may not have had first aid expertise or medical competency and felt unable to help. But what happens most of the time is that people decide that someone else will do something - it is easier to stand by.
Florida's decision to no longer allow AP psychology taught in high schools is harmful. "Just learning about the bystander effect increases your odds of interceding in an emergency." It is harmful not only to the students' futures, but to creating a better world. Doing this amid a staggering mental health crisis is a clear sign that political ideology is more important than people's lives, per usual.
And please educate yourself on the bystander effect. If you think there’s an emergency, there probably is. If you see someone suffering, help them, even if it’s not convenient to you or delays your Disneyland ride. One day it might be you or someone you love in that situation.
If your company needs bystander intervention training, Empower Global teaches
people how to have the courage to stand up.