LETTER: Is EMS contributing to the spread of COVID-19 in Antigua?

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Dear Editor,

The practice of cross contamination contradicts what the Ministry of Health and the ABEMS management preaches.

 

According to reports from members of the public who have sought the assistance of the Emergency Medical Services and verified by practicing technicians, ABEMS have been known to deploy a dedicated infectious control ambulance to respond to emergency calls for non-suspected COVID-19 individuals. This despite the existing expectation from the highest office in the land to minimize coming into contact with individuals who are confirmed or suspected of being infected with COVID-19.

 

ABEMS management posted a memo to their staff this weekend reminding them that the infectious control ambulance will be used to respond to non-COVID-19 related calls, as authorized by management.

 

This practice is unethical and exposes members of the public, medics, physicians, and nurses to a high risk of infection. Despite the fact that we are living in extraordinary times, the wellbeing of our people should remain the primary priority of our efforts.

 

The ABEMS management has taken this positions not because of a shortage of ambulances, but because of mismanagement of the vehicle fleet.

 

According to the Technicians, ABEMS often keeps the same ambulances on the road for weeks before removing them for servicing and maintenance.

 

This has resulted in vehicle wear and tear, as shown by their aesthetics and hazardous classification based on international standards.

 

When one of these vehicles is out of service due to maintenance or servicing problems, the ABEMS management often declines to put another appropriate ambulance on the road, opting instead to dispatch an infection control ambulance to transport non-COVID-19 patients.

 

This is a bad practice that must be stopped!

 

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