Wednesday, February 4, 2009

minister in charge

Last night I went to see my brother-in-law sing at a local club. After the show we went backstage to the green room to give him our congratulations. While we were there a young man from another band that was performing that night, and that nobody in my group knew, had some kind of loss of consciousness episode. We heard a loud bang as he suddenly dropped to the floor. His girlfriend immediately shouted for help and said he had "passed out" but that he hadn't been drinking. She attended to him with another friend while the rest of us stood around wondering what to do.

It seemed to most of us, myself included that we should call 911. But instead, for several minutes we deferred to the girlfriend. I felt a conflict of who was responsible in this situation. As a minister, people often look to me for decisive action in these sort of situations. My friends know I'm a minister, but no one else in the room did. And the girlfriend in this case had more knowledge than the rest of us (she later indicated he had some sort of neurological problem), as well as more responsibility for dealing with the consequences if she called 911 unnecessarily, or didn't call 911 and it turned out she should have. So for several minutes we let her attempt to care for him, including involving the club management, but waited for her OK before we made the 911 call.

Eventually we did call 911. And then the management asked us to clear the room and we ended up leaving the club before the paramedics showed up, so I don't know what finally happened.

Are we all equally responsible for each other? Or are some people (minister's, friends) more responsible than others, and how then do we rank the gradations of responsibility so people actually get the care they need?

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