by Hoai Nam
DA NANG — Since the central city's emergency aid centre moved to a new location, it has struggled with logistical difficulties. The centre, locally known as 115, moved from Hai Phong Street, next to Da Nang General Hospital, to Hoa Minh district, 10km away from the city's downtown.
|First aid staff transport the victim of a traffic accident to hospital in Da Nang. The relocation of the central city's emergency aid centre has made it unable to handle as many emergency calls as before. – VNA/VNS Photo Le Tran Lam
In its old location, the centre dealt with 80 per cent of emergency calls in the three main districts of Hai Chau, Thanh Khe and Son Tra.
However, since the move, the centre has not been able to handle so many cases.
"Previously, we used to transport 1,350 cases in six months, but it's only 125 cases from January to June this year," said deputy director of centre 115, Pham Thi Anh Hong.
"The 10,000sq.m new centre, which was put into operation in June, has yet to catch up with emergency calls from patients in the city's downtown. Vans have to travel a longer distance and deal with more traffic problems."
She explained that a van used to take only five minutes to reach patients, but it now takes 15 minutes just to travel from the new centre to the city's downtown.
Moreover, the van sometimes has to stop for as long as 25 minutes where the road crosses a railway at the crowded Hue junction, a few kilometres from the centre.
Da Nang is the only city in Viet Nam providing free emergency aid service, so the city's centre 115 receives 40-50 calls, of which 80 per cent are taken to Da Nang General Hospital, near the old centre.
The centre reported that 80 per cent of 100 emergency cases in June arrived late, resulting in a deluge of complaints from local residents.
"Patients' families even threatened our staff and doctors. They thought that we neglected the emergency calls," Hong said. "We had to explain that the problems occurred because it simply takes too long to get here. This did not happen in previous years."
Last month, a patient in the city's downtown died after an ambulance came 20 minutes after receiving a call.
Hong explained that if the ambulance had arrived in five minutes, the patient would have saved.
Over the last two months, many families have resorted to calling taxis or using other vehicles to carry patients to the hospital, even though this is not as safe as taking an ambulance.
Hong also reported that among 125 emergency calls in July, the centre was only able to handle 69 cases.
After an inspection on July 18, the city's administration agreed to set up two temporary emergency aid teams with two ambulances on an area of 48sq.m at the Da Nang General Hospital in the downtown.
However, the two teams still struggled to deal with the overwhelming number of calls. The three centre districts have a population of 590,000 – two-thirds of the city's total population of 800,000.
"Although we set up five emergency stations in the districts of Ngu Hanh Son, Cam Le, Hoa Vang, Lien Chieu and Son Tra, the centre 115 with 11 ambulances cannot meet the demands of first aid calls," Hong said. — VNS