Shanghai cops sued in jumper's death
A shanghai mother is suing a district police department because she says officers prevented her from getting prompt medical attention for her daughter and the girl died as a result.
The Changning District People's Court has accepted the case, which is sure to hinge on medical evidence about the best way to handle cases of severe physical trauma.
The mother, who was identified only as a Ms Jin, is seeking 381,840 yuan (US$46,005) in compensation and a ruling that police acted improperly.
The tragedy occurred on the night of June 13, 2004, as Jin was on her way home from work to her Changning District apartment. Before she arrived, however, police had been summoned because Jin's daughter had climbed onto a fifth-floor windowsill and threatened to jump.
Officers called for a large airbag to be brought to the scene, but the young woman jumped a few minutes later, before the safety equipment arrived.
The daughter, who was not identified, had long suffered from depression because she had failed two college admission attempts, the mother said.
When Jin arrived at 9:15pm she found the young woman lying on the ground with serious injuries.
"I rushed up but was stopped by the police. I called the 120 first-aid hot line and wanted to send my daughter to the hospital by taxi. The police stopped me, insisting that we wait for doctors. They said if I moved my daughter it might cause more injuries," Jin said.
The mother said an ambulance did not arrive until 9:40pm.
Jin's daughter was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died from internal bleeding.
Jin said a hospital doctor told her the young woman might have been saved if she had been brought in sooner.
The mother's lawyer, Zou Jialai, charged that police failed in their duty to provide timely aid to an injured person.
The Changning District Public Security Bureau replied that officers did everything they could to help the young woman after arriving on the scene at 9:08pm. As soon as she jumped, police said they contacted the main emergency hot line but were told ambulances were in short supply. Officers said they then called the first-aid center at the Hongqiao International Airport, and two ambulances arrived at the accident site at 9:30pm, 10 minutes earlier than the mother contends.
"Because the police aren't trained medical professionals and the young woman
might have suffered brain injuries, fractures and internal injuries, moving her
without a doctor's direction surely would worsen the injuries," the bureau
responded in a letter.