Why They Didn’t Help

On February 2nd 2005, Matthew Carrington tried to get into a fraternity by doing a ritual involving drinking massive amount of water (Five gallons) and then performing calisthenics (Pushups & sit-ups).  During the calisthenics, Matthew lost consciousness and blacked out. One of the four present fraternity members was going to call an ambulance, but the rest thought that Matthew was going to be alright and thought that he was just sleeping from doing all the calisthenics, so they didn’t call for help. However, one hour later Matthew stopped breathing, in which the four fraternity brothers knew he was not okay. They called an ambulance over, but was pronounced dead in the ambulance. The four fraternity members pleaded guilty for involuntary manslaughter, the longest sentence being one year.

While Matthew’s friends should have called an ambulance, it really was just their misconception of what was happening inside Matthew’s body when he blacked out. They really believed he was going to be alright, and that calling an ambulance would be too drastic.

However, there is also another reason for them not calling the ambulance soon enough. The bystander effect, the idea that the amount of people around you can decrease your chance of making a logical choice due to pressure/diffusion of responsibility, is probably a big reason as to why they didn’t call an ambulance until he stopped breathing.

Imagine you are forcing your friend to do what the fraternity members forced Matthew Carringon to do on the day of his death, and then see him pass out. I would have called an ambulance immediately. Now imagine that three of your closest friends are around during this, and they all say that they he is okay. Not knowing the consequences or this case, I probably would have just agreed with them.

Wikipedia. “Matt’s Law.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 8 Nov. 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *