Materia Medica Malaysiana

September 10, 2007

Ambulance dis-service

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:54 am

Star: PETALING JAYA: Ambulances – vehicles meant to save lives – have instead brought about injury and death, due to a multitude of reasons.
Ambulances were also used to transport staff or food while about half of the 141 paramedics interviewed in the Auditor-General’s (AG) report said equipment such as vital-sign monitors, cardiac monitors and portable ventilators did not work in ambulances acquired before 2002.
The report said that between 2005 and September last year, 112 ambulances were involved in 120 accidents around the country, causing two people to die and injuring 29 others.
“There were also ambulances involved in multiple accidents. Perak registered the most accidents involving ambulances, with 19.
“The accidents also resulted in a decrease in the number of ambulances that could be used at any one time because repair works had to be done.”
The report said factors that caused the accidents included:
> Wrong-sized tyres being used by the ambulance causing the tyres to explode during its journey;
> Usage of old ambulances or those that had been categorised as “beyond economic repair;” and
> Negligence by the driver.
About a quarter of the 157 drivers interviewed said they had been involved in accidents caused either by technical problems, carelessness or bad road conditions, while 36.3% said the vehicles were constantly spoilt and too bulky, making them unsuitable for narrow and jammed roads.
Repairs on ambulances were also not carried out quickly, either due to a lack of funds or difficulty in finding parts.
In one example, the audit found that it took five years for one ambulance belonging to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Sabah to be repaired.
“The cost of repairs also exceeded the estimate. In one example in Muar, the estimate given by the Works Ministry was RM29,050 but the price quoted by the concessionaire was RM127,415,” the audit said.
The AG said the Health Ministry had to look into such cases seriously so that society would not look negatively at ambulance services.

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