Wednesday, June 30, 2010

American Woman Hurt in Rio

I was wondering if anyone had the full story. My husband saw a brief part of the story online and I haven't been able to find more information.

Apparently a female American tourist was walking down the street when a manhole exploded!  They have no idea why it did but the poor woman has burns on 80% of her body.

I imagine her family has come down to be with her.  I was hoping to be able to reach out and help if none of them speak Portuguese or if they need anything in general.

I'd appreciate any information!



  1. I heard it took 40 minutes for the ambulance to arrive!


  2. That is just wrong! That is one of the things that make me the most nervous about living here. I can't be sure I'd have an ambulance if I needed one for me or one of my boys

  3. I can tell you worse - when my father-in-law collapsed on the street from a heart attack, not only did it take forever for an ambulance to arrive (and we pretty much figured he had expired there on the sidewalk) but the PUBLIC ambulance was required to take him to the PUBLIC hospital (even though we had been paying R$700/month for private health insurance). Said public hospital was MILES away in heavy traffic, when multiple other options were available much closer.

    May he rest in peace. And may this never happen to anyone ever again.

  4. Wow scary and so very very wrong!! So out of curiosity, if you happen to be at home and on the phone with "911" but can't finish the call (or have to hang up) will they trace your call anyway, show up and break down your door to find out what's going on inside?

    And what is the equivalent of 911 in Brazil/Rio?

  5. Jean - I don't want to freak you out, but... sit down.

    There is no 911 (at least I don't think there is). You can call the police, or the fire department (but make sure you call the right police department, civil or federal).

    You should set a speed dial on your phone for the ambulance company served by your insurance company to take you to the nearest participating hospital. In my father-in-law's case a passer by on the street called, we had not yet learned of his collapse.

    I have never heard of a case where an emergency call was traced and police were sent to intervene. That's not to say it does not happen. But I have never heard of such an incident on the nightly news.

    Think about it - the American tourist couple that experienced so much bad luck needed an ambulance in one of the richest neighborhoods in Rio - filled with medical facilities and all things modern. And it took 40 minutes for the ambulance to arrive.

    What makes me crazy is that practically NO ONE pulls their car out of the way to let an emergency vehicle pass. NO ONE. An ambulance can be stuck in traffic just like everyone else. I scream out loud when I see this happening!!

    The up side is that there are not freakish school shootings by wigged out kids with guns. That is an American phenomenon.

  6. Jim, thanks for the info. I'm grateful to know this type of info before moving to Rio, disturbing as it may be. So do drivers get pulled over for speeding (in general) if, say, we take matters into our own hands and drive to the ER ourselves? The fact that no one pulls over for ambulances is indeed disturbing. Very much so! I guess the bottom line is: keep one's expectations low!!

  7. There are numbers. I'm going to post them now with some tips :)

  8. I know this is an older post, but I actually thought of this post and the comments as I was driving in Houston today.

    Why? Because as I was driving home from Target, I heard siren after siren coming from every direction. I pulled over immediately as did all the other vehicles around me. There were so many firetrucks (I lost count) on their way to an emergency (which happened to be in our apartment complex, but that's another story), and they all had a clear path to get to their destination because the other drivers had cleared the way.

    I actually thought to myself at that moment, "well I guess I won't be seeing this kind of cooperation in Rio!" Hmmmm....

  9. In Rio's defense, there aren't any shoulders. In some areas, it's hard to get over with traffic. Then again, as I always tell my husband, even if there were shoulders, people would be using them as lanes.