Senator Sonny Angara has called for the passage of a bill that seeks to strengthen the emergency medical services system in the country after a female passenger lost her arm in an accident at the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) Ayala Station in Makati City early this week.
According to recent reports, doctors successfully reattached the severed right arm of the victim, Angeline Fernando.
Fernando’s parents are thankful that a fellow passenger, who happened to be a medical intern at the Chinese General Hospital, Dr. Charlie Jandic, was quick to assist Fernando when the accident happened.
“Masasabi nating maswerte pa rin si Angeline dahil nakaligtas siya at nasa mabuti na siyang kalagayan. Nagpapasalamat tayo na may pasahero roon na may medical training na agad tumulong. Pero hindi sa lahat ng insidenteng tulad nito ay may isang Dr. Jandic na tutulong. Kaya’t isinusulong natin ang pagsasabatas ng Emergency Medical Services System Act,” the senator said.
Transport Undersecretary Cesar Chavez was quoted in a news report saying that while MRT staff, particularly the safety and security unit, are trained to respond to emergencies, “at the time of the incident, there was no MRT staff on the platform” except for two security guards who assisted Fernando.
Angara’s Senate Bill 1573 mandates the development and institutionalization of emergency medical services system to ensure that there are enough qualified emergency medical service personnel in the country.
Emergency medicine is a specialized discipline in the medical field focused on giving timely and coordinated health and safety services to victims of sudden illness or injury, prior to them reaching hospitals, health centers or any healthcare facility.
According to data cited at the 2013 Asian Conference on Emergency Medicine, the Philippines only has 3,300 recognized emergency medical service personnel.
Also, out of the approximately 1,800 hospitals in the country, only 200 or 11% can be considered emergency hospitals which have facilities that are capable of providing quality emergency medical care.
“We need to reverse this situation by mandating local government units to establish emergency dispatch centers with adequate and qualified personnel,” the lawmaker said.
“Mas malaki ang pag-asa na makaligtas sa anumang aksidente o karamdaman ang isang indibidwal kung agad siyang mabibigyan ng emergency medical services,” added Angara, who is also the principal author of the CPR law which requires cardiopulmonary resuscitation training as part of the country’s basic education curriculum.
SB 1573 further mandates all government and private institutions including malls, parks and transport stations to place at least one automates defibrillator to treat sudden cardiac arrest in their respective areas of responsibility.
Moreover, under the bill, the National Telecommunications Commission is tasked to develop a program for the adoption of a single national emergency number that would enable the public to access emergency medical services.