The story appears on

Page A5

June 18, 2013

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro » Health and Science

Ambulance delays aggravated by heat

SUMMER heat is aggravating delays in the delivery of ambulance services, which already are lagging due to a shortage of first aid doctors and the city's rising number of elderly, Shanghai Medical Emergency Center officials said yesterday.

The problem is more acute in the summer, since the heat is likely to make those with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases feel ill. Recent hot weather has boosted the daily average of calls dispatched by the center to 1,000 per day, and morning requests for service are rising quickly.

A shortage of doctors, not vehicles, is the main problem, the center said. Many first-aid doctors quit due to low pay, a heavy workload and pressure, and an unpromising career track.

The center was intensely criticized since an 88-year-old man died while waiting for an ambulance on Sunday. The family posted a picture of him collapsed on a chair to protest the slow service.

A netizen called Guaiweishishi posted that her grandfather, surnamed Gu, fainted at his residential complex in Putuo District about 7:20am. "My grandpa had lung disease, so we had to call an ambulance with oxygen equipment instead of hiring a taxi," she said. "When an ambulance arrived 40 minutes later, my grandpa had passed away."

She told local media that Gu had oxygen supply equipment at his home but ran out of oxygen on Sunday morning, when he went out for a walk with his daughter.

The center said it "received the first call at 7:25am and the dispatcher said there was no ambulance available at that time. The dispatcher closely followed all nearby ambulances and finally sent an ambulance at 8:01am after the family called three times."

Not direct cause of death

Medical experts, however, said the ambulance delay was not the direct cause to Gu's death, and his family's lack of proper care also was a factor.

"Concerning the family, Gu has been in the terminal stage of his respiratory disease and needed long-term oxygen therapy," said Dr Pan Shuming, director of Xinhua Hospital's emergency department.

"Without consulting a doctor, it is wrong to take such a patient for a walk in the morning, which has the poorest air quality of the day. The hot and stuffy weather that day was bad for such a patient," Pan said.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend