SCDF ambulance (Photo: Terry Xu)

A tragic accident took place near Lucky Plaza whereby two people tragically lost their lives while four were injured.
All life is precious and it is therefore disappointing that The New Paper felt it necessary to emblazon in their headlines that “Two Filipino maids” were killed. Is it really relevant to mention the occupation of the victims? Seems like a cheap way to sell papers if you ask me. But I digress.
The main point of concern I wish to raise is in relation to the medical care that was provided to the victims of the accident.
The victims were conveyed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) via Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF) ambulances.
Given that the accident took place in the vicinity of Lucky Plaza, one does not need to be an expert in Geography to know that TTSH is by far not the nearest hospital.

In emergencies such as these, shouldn’t victims have been transported to the nearest hospital (in this case Mount Elizabeth Hospital)? Did the delay in transporting the victims contribute to the deaths?
Mount Elizabeth has since clarified that they would most definitely have treated the victims had they been activated.  The issue would appear therefore not to be one of costs as speculated by some but an issue with standard operating procedures of the SCDF.
According to government websites, SCDF emergency ambulances will convey patients to the closest designated restructured hospitals, to receive immediate medical attention. Ambulance personnel will not consider requests to redirect patients to alternative hospitals, even if patients have existing relationships with those facilities. 
As Mount Elizabeth is apparently not on the list of SCDF hospitals, the victims were not sent there despite it being pretty much beside the scene of the accident. Is this a case where blind adherence to standard operating procedures has trumped common sense?
Not to mention TTSH does not have a burns unit or cardiac surgery while Mount Elizabeth has far more cardiac surgeons and orthopedic surgeons than TTSH.
Secondly, shouldn’t our various ambulance services be more joined up? I would have thought that the standard operating procedure for any ambulance service would be to take patients to the nearest hospital in cases of emergency (which this clearly was) as opposed to some arbitrary “list”?
It would be a waste of life if lives that could have been potentially be saved, were lost because of this seemingly senseless delay.

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