By Marge Lamberte, Rotary Club Parañaque Metro
When one hears an ambulance, what comes to mind? When a road accident occurs, what number do you have to call? When a child is choking, whom do you call? When a family member is having a heart attack or a stroke or when a child has a seizure, who can appropriately respond? Every second counts, yet we are not aware of whom to call.
What is the difference among paramedic, emergency medical technician and emergency first responder? Can any driver be an ambulance driver? Can any volunteer provide emergency medical services (EMS)? Can nurses serve as paramedics? Are they supposed to be licensed first? Who certifies the EMS practitioners? Shouldn’t they be operating under medical supervision? What’s their communication link to the nearest hospital? They save lives, yet nobody seems to care.
What is that shabby looking “ambulance” doing in the accident scene? Oh, it is not an ambulance; it’s a funeral parlor vehicle!
What is the protocol when there is more than one emergency responder? Who is the lead government agency? While saving lives is everybody’s concern, can a Good Samaritan get in trouble when trying to help a victim?
This was the state of EMS three years ago — embryonic, fragmented, ill-equipped, and unrecognized. If not for the series of natural disasters in the world and the passage of a disaster risk reduction law in the Philippines, the EMS practitioner would have gone unnoticed and ambulances would have remained scarce.
After graduating 33 EMS scholars, building the first ambulance simulator for competency assessment that introduces the Observance of EMS Week in the Philippines, it is now time to pass a law on EMS Practice. There is a strong need to heighten public awareness on the need for a community-supported seamless quality EMS that will serve the haves and the have-nots and position the Philippines as the best medical tourism destination.
These are just some of the issues that will be addressed during the 3rd EMS Summit on May 23, 2012, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Women’s Center of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in Taguig City.
The Summit is initiated by the Rotary Club Parañaque Metro, Rotary Club Parañaque Midtown, Rotary Club Sussex Vale, Rotary International District 3620 South Korea, The Rotary Foundation, in cooperation with Philippine International EMS Registry, Bureau of Fire Protection and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
The various activities during the EMS week such as basic life support training, blood donation, fun run, and motorcade are collaborative efforts of Prompt Care Learning Center, Inc., City of San Fernando in Pampanga, Barangay San Antonio in Pasig, Angono Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Parañaque City DRRMO, Philippine Heart Association, Philippine Red Cross- Rizal Chapter, NERA and Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary. SecurityMatters, Rotary in Action and Rescue 5 serve as media partners.