Thursday, February 21, 2008


Yesterday I called for an ambulance to transport a patient with suspected meningitis to hospital. After about an hour the ambulance had not arrived yet so I asked a clerk to call and find out what the delay was. Meanwhile, I continued to attend to other patients. When I went back to the clerk, he told me that the ambulance service had simply told him they were on the way. I waited a while longer and still there was no ambulance so I called the dispatch myself. I was told that the reason for the delay was that there was only one ambulance that day servicing the entire draining area for our local hospital. I was shocked. I was also told that this ambulance first had to go to three other clinics before coming to collect my patient. I asked why there was only one ambulance. The dispatcher eagerly told me that they normally have TWO but that the other on had been involved in an accident the previous day.

I ended up having to ask my patient's family to take her to the hospital in the back of their bakkie (pick up truck).