Emergency Medical Care Inadequate

Emergency Medical Care InadequateEmergency Medical Care Inadequate

Emergency Medical Services—as the name suggests—provide care to those in urgent in need of attention.

However, that meaning seems lost on those in charge of the EMS, according to a report in the Persian daily Qanoun. This is particularly worrying because road accidents and cardiovascular diseases are among the leading causes of death in Iran.

According to the daily, the bulk of people’s dissatisfaction with EMS is the response time. Authorities usually blame delays on the snarling traffic in  metropolises, such as Tehran, which is why 200 motorcycle ambulances were added to the Tehran fleet of emergency vehicles last month.

Nevertheless, EMS problems go far beyond the poor response time.

There are complaints about the telephone operators handling emergency calls. Some say they ask unnecessary questions which wastes precious time and delay the dispatch of ambulances. Others say some paramedics are poorly equipped.

“When I called the phone number 115 (the emergency hotline), the operator said they didn’t have a vehicle to send,” a Tehran resident identified only as Golshid was quoted as saying in the article, describing a recent incident when her colleague was in need of medical care.  “I had called the emergency service. I wasn’t asking for a cab!” According to Hossein Kolivand, head of the EMS, there are only 1,500 people working at Tehran EMS centers, which he admits is not enough to meet the needs of a metropolis of more than 12 million people.

“To make matters worse, a large number of calls we get are not actual emergencies; this wastes time and pulls resources away from people in real need for medical attention,” Kolivand said, adding that an ambulance on average takes three hours to return from a mission.

What is clear is that EMS, particularly in Tehran, is in need of a major overhaul that includes hiring more people, buying more vehicles and possibly reviewing the questions asked during emergency calls.

“Emergency services in Tehran are poor and it is unacceptable, particularly when the city is known for facing natural disasters such as earthquakes.”


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