Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Are we Serious About Our Emergency Medical Service?

(Pic taken with my camera phone)

I was driving back from Melaka when I saw long traffic congestion and after some time I reached the spot that caused the long queue (A few KM after Alor Gajah exit towards Seremban maybe KM 292.0) . It was an accident! Not to be surprised with Malaysian who love to watch and comment and the note of the car number for gambling, I saw "POLIS BANTUAN" was there with the PLUS (highway Operator), that was a good sign. With them at the location I can assume the accident must have occurred at least 30 Min's ago.
I pulled over and went to the location and there was a lady and a man assisting the lady who was injured in the accident. The man introduced himself as a doctor who was passing by, I felt relieved. Then I asked the PLUS guy if they have called for an ambulance. They said they called some time back but have not arrived. He also said this is common that they have to wait very long. The lady had head and leg injury and impact on arm and back.
I called 112 (mobile emergency number) and requested for Tampin Hospital as the PLUS guys said that is the nearest hospital. The person that answered the call at the hospital scolded me "enough of calls for this case, we are sending an ambulance". Uh! this shows Malaysians are concerned people and calling for medical assistance. But after that long wait and now he was saying "I am sending" ...... he had no sense of urgency to dispatch the ambulance soonest to safe a life! Taking own sweet time (as I see it) and getting upset when start getting many calls!
The doctor made sure there were no external bleeding and she is safe and left.
She was cold and wet. I guess the water that was filled in the plastic barriers splashed on her.
Asking the PLUS if that had first aid kit, no they did not have any. We had to cover her with a sunshade from her car. I think the PLUS ronda personals must be trained on first aid and safety procedures and handling of injured people They should also carry first aid kit. Which I guess here in Malaysia we cannot expect it.
After about another 30 mins the ambulance arrived, thank GOD! They placed a stretcher then I asked where is the neck brace? As there are possibilities of neck injury looking at her condition and the condition of the car. The man went back to the ambulance and did not find any. So he has to transport the lady on to the stretcher and to the ambulance without the neck brace.
What is a neck brace? It supports and hold tight the head and protects the neck. Neck is a fragile part of the spinal cord. It is key to use the neck brace in any accidental injuries (specially road accidents) as the visible injury my not be the only injury and the victims are not in control of the body which can possibly cause internal injuries to the parts like neck.
After that the ambulance left. I washed my hands and left the location. I saw the ambulance right in front. One of the beacon was faulty, and going slow. Yes, she was conscious but looking at the condition of the car and the cut she had on her head and the glass on the body, it may have entered her mouth, she has to be checked by a doctor soonest. Why so slow?
Where are we? We say we have the cheapest toll rates, cheapest petrol. Does that includes cheapest and low quality emergency medical service?
Well, this can be a one off case .... but ........it can be a good mile stone.
Lets ask our self.....are we?
You can see her at lower left of the picture covered with windscreen cover and head injury covered with pampers.

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