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June 21, 2013

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Ambulance arrives 2 hours late to pick up injured sanitation workers

AN ambulance arrived two hours late to pick up two injured road sanitary workers as it was stuck with a patient for over an hour because the hospital's emergency room did not have beds.

The incident comes close on the heels of a report on Sunday when an 88-year-old man died while waiting for 40 minutes for an ambulance.

Four sanitary workers were knocked down by a sanitation van on Jungong Road in Yangpu District around 8:30am.

One of the workers with the most serious injury was sent to the hospital in a taxi and an ambulance transferred another worker to the nearest Changhai Hospital at 9:19am.

The Shanghai Medical Emergency Center had planned to dispatch the ambulance back to the scene of the accident to pick up the other two injured workers but was unable to do so for over an hour-and-a-half as it was stuck with the patient who could not be admitted because the hospital's emergency beds were all occupied.

"All the 24 ambulances in the same district were transporting patients or were occupied because of lack of beds in the emergency room," said Liu Xiaodong, an official from the center's eastern branch.

"One ambulance was occupied for over three hours."

The center managed to find an ambulance from another district to pick up the two injured workers at 10:21am.

The workers suffered injuries to their heads and limbs but their condition was said not to be life-threatening.

Rise in the number of the aging population, unreasonable demands by the patients or their family, calling for ambulances in non-emergency situations and the lack of beds in emergency room were among the reasons cited for the troubled ambulance service.

One patient's family insisted that the ambulance drive them all the way from northeastern Yangpu District to Shanghai No.6 People's Hospital in southwestern Xuhui District yesterday. The ambulance had to navigate the city's traffic instead of dropping off the patient to the nearest hospital.

Moreover, 25 percent of the calls made for ambulances in the city were for non-emergency situations. The center said such calls will now on be placed in a queue until emergency situations are addressed first.


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