If you've lived in Manila for any considerable length of time, you're no doubt familiar with the incredibly frustrating traffic jams that cause gridlocks throughout the metro. When these jams happen, cars aren't going to be moving for minutes, even hours. That's like a death sentence for people needing urgent medical attention. To ease the pain, pardon the pun, Congress has come up with a law that requires hospitals to have motorcycle paramedic units.
House Bill 6739 proposes to make it mandatory for hospitals to have motorcycle paramedics as front-line first responders for emergencies. The author of the bill, Congressman Mariano Michael Velarde Jr., says that the timely intercession of a trained medical professional could save lives. "A trained medical emergency responder may save the life of a stroke or accident victim, but because of no trained medical first responder in the local levels, precious lives are lost that could have been saved."
While the government is still struggling to resolve the traffic problem in the country, this looks like it could be an effective stop-gap measure until a real solution to the traffic problem is found. There's a lack of good roads for ambulances particularly in the more rural areas, and in urbanized areas, there is simply just too much traffic along the roads. Two-wheeled emergency vehicles can weave through heavy traffic and go through rough terrain outside the city at a much faster pace.
That does, of course, bring into question the safety of such a measure. Motorcycle accidents are far more common in the metro compared to automobile accidents, and it's due to things like reckless weaving through traffic in a hurry that many motorcyclists are injured or lose their lives. This could potentially be opening a new can of worms, with the rescuer suddenly becoming the rescuee.
Still, it's a great idea that could save lives, if implemented properly. The Bill also mandates the qualifications for the response unit, along with the necessary equipment like communications gear, an external defibrillator, and other medical supplies to stabilize a patient while waiting for a proper ambulance. The operator should be skilled in paramedical techniques such as oxygen therapy, CPR, first aid, and probably traffic safety regulations as well.
- Images from flickr.com