Patients die as Manila traffic jams block ambulances

Manila, Sept 9 (AFP/APP):Gridlock in Manila is costing lives as ambulances stuck in traffic face severe delays in the race against the clock to reach the city’s hospitals, medics warn.

Special lanes for emergency vehicles are not enforced, the infrastructure is outdated, and local drivers are often unwilling or unable to make way — a situation experts say is causing patients to die en route.
“You feel empty. It is as if you were not given a chance to do everything in your capacity to help,” ambulance driver and paramedic Joseph Laylo told AFP.

“If the traffic was not that bad it could have saved the patient,” he added, recalling how he lost a patient when congestion tripled the time to hospital.

Even with an encyclopedic knowledge of short cuts or aggressive driving such as blasting their horns or bumping unyielding vehicles, it is not always enough to arrive in time.

Driver Adriel Aragon is still haunted after losing a critically ill patient when it took 40 minutes to reach the hospital — the journey should have taken half that time.

“No matter how hard we honk, even if we use our siren, if the vehicles are not moving it doesn’t matter,” he said.

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