Urgent need for defibrillators in all ambulances

It was distressing to read that an ambulance that attended to a runner on March 6 did not have the necessary resuscitation device that could have saved his life ("Runner's death from heatstroke a 'sad misadventure'"; last Wednesday).

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) have been installed in many places, including shopping centres, schools and other public areas. It is inconceivable that not all ambulances have been equipped with such vital equipment.

There is an urgent need for all ambulances, private or public, to be equipped with appropriate medical drugs and equipment. Such facilities assume greater importance in sporting events.

Timely medical evacuation procedures are also critical.

A majority of cardiac arrest victims who collapse outside of hospitals in Singapore also do not receive timely cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

What is required is mass public awareness, concomitant with the ability to provide health education to the community at large.

This can be achieved by an aggressive campaign to raise awareness of timely CPR and the use of AEDs.

Community groups, students, companies, sports associations and civic bodies will benefit from training in these areas.

At a time when we are endeavouring to put Singapore on the world sporting map, it is imperative that no pains be spared in ensuring that adequate emergency preparedness is in place for public events, including races and marathons.

V. Subramaniam (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2016, with the headline 'Urgent need for defibrillators in all ambulances'. Print Edition | Subscribe