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Oct 13, 2017

Don’t Chase B.E.R.T. Ambulances for Non-Emergencies

A press release from the organization issued on Thursday advises the general public to minimize non-emergency calls to BERT until the situation is stabilized, but notes that emergency services remain in place. But which is which? According to Andre Carrillo, those situations which do not necessarily require immediate medical intervention and free services such as transport from hospital to home after a medical visit tax BERT’s resources and leaves them less free to respond to major incidents.

 

Andre Carrillo

Andre Carrillo, National Coordinator, B.E.R.T.

“We respond to emergencies – anything from cardiac cases, heart attacks to road traffic accidents. However, when the ambulance is called for an emergency, the ambulance is tied up dealing with that one emergency, and what we do to be able to meet the emergency needs of Belize is that we have on-call and back-up ambulances, standbys if you will. Because of the recent situation with the outbreak, whenever a staff is sick – a staff member, an emergency medical technician – it’s required that the additional staff members cover for that shift. We are an ambulance service that doesn’t close, we operate twenty-four-seven, so the other staff members who are here, they are required to cover that shift. But when you have a record number, a growing number of employees being out, as a result it presents a risk for us to be able to respond to those secondary cases. And so what we are trying to minimize at this point in time is tying up the ambulance dealing with non-emergencies that the public can treat on their own. And those would be the general cases where patients are discharged from the hospitals to go back home. We believe that with the help of family members they can find another way to get back home coming out of the hospitals. While it is a non-emergency service that we provide, it still does tie up the ambulance services, providing that kind of service. If you’ve been advised by your practitioner, your doctor, to take certain steps to deal with an illness you may have, like diabetes, don’t wait until it becomes an emergency before you seek health care. You can save your own life before you call the ambulance, before you become an emergency. Seek the health care that you require early, before calling the ambulance.”

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