Imagine that without warning, you or someone you loved had a heart attack at a public place such as an airport, train station, or busy street corner. You would no doubt hope that someone cared enough to help you.
A 58-year-old man had a heart attack in Vienna’s busiest train station, but instead of being readily helped, he was left to die. According to reports, the victim collapsed at the Volkstheater station on the U3 metro line in the Austrian capital.
Surveillance footage of the heart attack is deeply disturbing. Not only does the poor gentleman collapse, but police said that he remained on the floor from 2 a.m. until 7 a.m.
It wasn’t until a cleaner saw the heart attack sufferer that he received any aid. Unfortunately by the time help finally came, it was already too late to save him.
The heart attack proved fatal as the unnamed man died on the way to a nearby hospital.
A 58-year-old man who suffered a heart attack in one of Vienna’s busiest subway stations was ignored for five hours. http://t.co/yCO1sNp9IB
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) January 4, 2015
Austrian police officials are baffled by the situation. It wasn’t as if the man had a heart attack during a period when no one was at the train station. According to authorities, several people stepped over the man rather than check to see if he was alright.
The level of indifference is reportedly so disturbing to Vienna authorities that they are considering filing “failure to assist” complaints against those persons who left the heart attack sufferer to die.
However, those not-so-good Samaritans may not be the only persons who find themselves in trouble with the law. Apparently two Wiener Linien staff members are supposed to inspect the station area regularly in order to make sure nothing is amiss. They are nowhere to be seen in the footage, raising the possibility that the failure to do their job also contributed to the fatal nature of the heart attack.
These two employees are now reportedly in serious trouble, facing disciplinary actions and the very real likelihood that they’ll be fired.
This sad holiday story has since gone viral, with a number of people asking how a man having a heart attack on the floor of a train station was left in dying in agony for five hours.
There are some explanations to be found, but they don’t reflect pleasantly on humanity.
According to numerous psychological studies, persons in a group are less likely to report an emergency or even respond to an upsetting situation if no one else does. This inaction in the face of a potential tragedy has been called the “Bystander Effect” or “Diffusion of Responsibility.”
They assume that someone else will call the authorities or another individual will stop to help a person in need.
It is this sort of behavior that is blamed for the failure of anyone to respond to the brutal murder of Kitty Genovese. Even as Kitty was being stabbed to death and screamed for help, many heard her, but not one person even moved to call for help.
Decades later, despite this heart attack death being have a world away, it feels as though this unfortunate aspect of human nature remains startlingly intact.
Do you think you would have helped this man suffering from a heart attack or would you have left him there as others did?
Remember: What you want to say and what you’d probably do are two different things as demonstrated in this revealing “What Would You Do?” segment.
[Image Credit: Transitdrum118]