IN a country with more than 100 million people, many of them poor, it is certainly disheartening to
note that there are only 3,300 recognized emergency medical service personnel in the Philippines.
Not only that. Out of the approximately 1,800 hospitals in this manpower-exporting but
poverty-stricken Southeast Asian nation, only 200 or 11 percent can be considered emergency hospitals.
Emergency hospitals are medical institutions which have facilities that are capable of
providing quality emergency medical care.
The tragic incident at the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) Ayala Station in Makati City last week
has thrust out front the need to speed up the passage of Sen. Edgardo “Sonny” Angara’s Senate Bill
(SB) No. 1573.
Reports said that last November 24, the right arm of software Engr. Angeline Fernando, 24, was
severed when she fell into the gap between two train cars of MRT-3.
As she lay on the railroad tracks, the train’s wheels ran over Fernando’s right arm just below
Doctors at the Makati Medical Center succeeded in reattaching her severed arm, which was
preserved due to timely medical assistance Fernando got from a co-passenger, medical intern Charlianne
“Nagpapasalamat tayo na may pasahero roon na may medical training na agad tumulong. Pero hindi
sa lahat ng insidenteng tulad nito ay may isang Dr. Jandic na tutulong,” said Senator Angara.
In the view of many, the freak incident involving Fernando is a wake-up call to our lawmakers
-- senators and congressmen.
SB No. 1573 calls for the development and institutionalization of emergency medical services
system to ensure that there are enough qualified emergency medical service personnel in the country.
And we agree with the young but workaholic Angara that there’s also the need to mandate local
government units to establish emergency dispatch centers with adequate and qualified personnel.
Let’s act now -- and fast.