Ministry: Late ambulance arrivals isolated cases


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 11 Oct 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry believes the recent cases where ambulances responded late or were ill-equipped, leading to two men dying, were “isolated cases”.

However, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said the ministry would look into the incidents.

He was responding to a Facebook post claiming that a man in Subang Jaya died after an ambulance took 35 minutes to arrive.

The operator was told in the emergency call that the man was experiencing chest pains and breathing difficulties.

However, the post by Syahiza Radzi claimed the ambulance was not equipped with an oxygen tank and that responders came from a hospital further than the one requested by the victim’s family.

“When they went through the dispatch records, it took the operator seven minutes, from receiving an emergency call, to actually contacting a hospital for an ambulance.

“The grand total number of calls that operator got requesting an ambulance that specific day? One,” she claimed.

Earlier last month, a traffic accident victim died while being transported in an ambulance in Jelebu, Negri Sembilan, after he was thrown off his stretcher because he was not properly fastened.

His family also claimed the ambulance arrived after 20 minutes.

Dr Hilmi Yahaya said the normal response time was 15 minutes.

“I believe these are isolated cases, details of which I don’t know. We will have to find out,” he said.

In June, the ministry announced it was launching a project with St John Ambulance Malaysia and the Malaysian Red Crescent Society to station ambulances at toll plazas and other hotspots.

It claimed the move would cut the response time to 15 minutes or less.

The initiative was first introduced at major hospitals in the Klang Valley in 2014 and was extended to Malacca and Penang.

Between 2010 and 2013, the ministry said it received numerous complaints that ambulances were taking up to 45 minutes to arrive.

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