Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fast relaying of info can help to save lives, says Health Minister

Getting the vital medical statistics of a patient in an ambulance to a hospital even before the vehicle gets there is the latest digital project to be considered by the Health Ministry. Its minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said that if implemented, medical assistants in the ambulances would be able to obtain help from emergency rooms to treat the patient during the journey to the hospital. He added that patient information such as blood pressure reading, pulse, breathing rate and ECG could be transmitted to the control centres. Liow also said that 400 ambulances were needed in the future to serve Malaysians efficiently. An initial 100 units worth about RM30mil has been ordered and another 100 will be bought soon.

My questions are do the minister knows that many district hospitals in Malaysia do not have even a pulse oxymeter at their emergency units. Most of current ambulances available under the ministry of health do not have proper equipment such as BP set, pulse oxymeter and ECG monitoring device. So why spend millions of ringgits just for ICT when most basic requirements can not be provided. Even, we do not have enough number of trained medical assistant for our ambulance services. I do hope the ministry will study the plan properly. Advances in IT we have may appear great among the developing countries, but it will not be a wise decision when the basic needs can not be fulfilled.

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