THE Department of Medical Services, Ministry of Health would like to respond to the comment made by ‘Annoyed and Disappointed’ titled “Paramedics should exercise patience” published in the Borneo Bulletin Weekend edition dated September 27, 2014. We thank the writer for his/her comments and would like to clarify on the matter.
The accident mentioned by the writer was a two-car accident involving a family; a father and his two young daughters which happened at Jalan Tutong. The Emergency Medical Ambulance Service (EMAS) responded to the 991 call received at 2.22pm and arrived at the scene at around 2.28pm. On arrival, the paramedics assessed the situation and brought the father and his daughters into the ambulance for further examination.
Initial assessment made by the paramedics showed no serious injuries. This early assessment, which not only includes physical examination but also involves asking questions, is very important. Information about the incident and victims needed to be collected as quickly as possible to provide the best treatment for the family. However, it was difficult for the paramedics to do a full examination as the children were distressed and crying and the father also seemed to be in a shock and was not replying to the questions, on top of that there were loud noises coming from the ongoing traffic at that time. All these factors combined with the urgency of getting treatment for the victims, especially the young girls, led to the paramedic having to raise her voice to get a reply from the father.
Although the daughters did not seem to have serious injuries, it was necessary to bring them to the hospital for further observation, as they did not have their seat belts fastened and were thrown off their seats during the accident. Unfortunately, the father refused to send his daughters to the hospital.
As witnessed by the writer, the father was asked to sign the ‘Against Medical Advice’ form and was further advised to seek immediate medical attention if they developed any pain or symptoms. The paramedic team has standard operating procedures, which they followed during this incident. This includes a scene survey to assess any road traffic accident situation. These procedures are important to ensure pre-hospital management of patients are standardised and of quality and, are in the best interest of the patients, the public and the staff.
We would like to sincerely apologise if the incident has inadvertently caused inconveniences to the family as the paramedic’s utmost priority was to provide immediate medical care to the father and his young daughters. Ultimately, the role and responsibility of a paramedic is to save lives by providing emergency on-site management, stabilising, reducing further injuries and transferring all victims requiring further treatment to the hospitals regardless of whether the victims are local or foreigners.
At this opportunity, the Department of Medical Services, Ministry of Health would like to remind the public to always drive safely and fasten their seat belts and use proper baby seats for toddlers and babies while using any vehicle as it can save you and your family’s life if an accident were to happen.
In case of any emergencies, the public can contact our emergency hotline at 991. We also request full cooperation from the public to provide complete and correct information, to give way to ambulances on the road and also to the paramedics to enable them to provide immediate emergency care to those who urgently need them.
– Director General of Medical Services
Department of Medical Services
Ministry of Health