By simply dialing 912, persons can access the most efficient medical emergency service around.
Based at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation [GPHC], persons who might be suffering from conditions ranging from heart attacks to gunshot wounds can take advantage of the Emergency Medical Services [EMS].
Headed by Dr. Zulfikar Bux, the EMS system came into being in 2016 and works in close collaboration with the Guyana Fire Service.
According to Dr. Bux, while the EMS has catered to more than 7,500 emergency cases, it has received many more calls for assistance. He disclosed however that some of the calls placed to 912 are not always related to emergency cases.
He noted that while persons can call 912 to report a fire as well, it certainly isn’t a service that ensures that patients keep their clinic dates.
“We focus on emergencies so if people don’t have an emergency, they shouldn’t call the number. If you have a toe pain that is not an emergency, if you have a clinic date we are not supposed to take you, and what people need to know is that we don’t take people to private hospitals because this is a public service. It is a free service and we can’t afford to do some of the things people would want us to do,” said Dr. Bux.
He added, “Members of the public need to understand that this is a service to be used but not abused.”
But despite some shortcomings, including the difficulty to find some addresses, Dr. Bux disclosed that the EMS service has been efficient and is known to respond within 15 to 20 minutes. EMS, Dr. Bux said, is seen as crucial since it has been helping to reduce the number of deaths associated with medical emergencies.
The EMS services utilizes trained Emergency Medical Technicians [EMTs] who find their way to patients via ambulances. They are able to cater to basic medical conditions en route to the hospital and are able to inform doctors at the GPHC of the symptoms being manifested so that they can properly prepare for incoming patients.
“Without this service, thousands of people would have had to find alternative means of getting to the hospital and we don’t know that they would have still been alive today without the support of our EMTs,” said Dr. Bux. In fact, he disclosed that on at least three occasions, EMTs helped to deliver babies en route to the hospital and there have been cases where persons suffering from potentially fatal conditions were able to reach in the nick of time.