Safety is a priority behind the wheel of an ambulance

  • Nation
  • Monday, 09 Sep 2019

IPOH: An ambulance driver must ensure the safety of patients and his own self during emergencies while on the road, says Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.

Their lives should be a priority and the driver needs to conform to traffic rules to ensure they reach their destination safely.

“The drivers often face pressure to arrive at an emergency site or to the hospital within the shortest time possible.

“While doing so, safety should be number one,” he told reporters after attending a lunch organised by the Persatuan Kawan Karib Perak here yesterday.

“Some people may question why some ambulances do not cut queue. They also need to obey traffic rules whenever possible.

“It’s not just about the patients’ lives but also of the medical personnel in the vehicle,” he added.

Dr Lee said an ambulance driver also cannot simply run the red light at traffic junctions.

“It is entirely up to their discretion but they need to first make sure it is safe to do so. And when the siren is on, the cars in front should give way,” he said.

On the accident involving an ambulance that caused two deaths near Slim River last month, Dr Lee said the preliminary investigation showed that the vehicle had hit a nail.

“Some cars hit a nail but don’t overturn. We also have to look at other factors that contributed to the accident,” he added.

It was reported that a patient and an ambulance driver died after the vehicle burst a tyre, causing it to lose control and overturn on the North South Expressway near Slim River.

Dr Lee also said those responsible for maintaining the ambulance has conformed to its maintenance Key Performance Index.

“Based on the report, there was no issue with them,” he said, adding that they have also followed the standard operating procedures.

“Any vehicle found not to be roadworthy will be written off as beyond economic repair, put to rest or be auctioned off,” he said, adding that maintenance of ambulances is done regularly to ensure they are safe on the road.

On several reports about deaths and illnesses caused by vaping in the United States, Dr Lee said the people should be more vigilant about it now.

He said about 80% of the deaths were related to Tetrahydro-cannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol products, both being marijuana derivatives.

“More than 90% of vaping liquid also contains nicotine, even if this

is lemon or strawberry flavour.

“There’s no ‘kick’ if it doesn’t have nicotine and people won’t buy it,” he said.

“With these reports, there’s an urgent need to regulate the vaping industry now.

“But so far, we have no evidence that these are being used locally, as it is illegal without proper registration,” he added.
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