CrisisOnCall , Emergency Roadside Assistance and Road Safety
Communication on the Scene of a Road Crash with Crash VictimsIntroduction and the Reality of Trauma in South Africa
Thousands of road users die on the roads of South Africa every year – and much more are critically injured and disabled. In this section, we would like to reflect on emergency assistance on the road and how to ensure that such assistance is readily available.
We would like to briefly reflect on a few facts:
- At least 1 in every 15 South Africans will have trauma this year
- Every 43 minutes somebody in South Africa die as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
- For every person that dies, 85 are admitted for treatment at a medical facility.
- Over 20,000 interpersonal deaths (Murders, suicides, hijackings, etc) will occur this year alone
- At least 1 in every 10 trauma patients will be treated incorrectly at a medical facility due to a lack of appropriate medical information
- Crisis situations can strike at any time, be it a medical emergency, trauma, vehicle, criminal or household related incident.
- Road users need to consider who will take care of their crisis situation when they are not in a position to take care of it themselves.
Important questions before you start your journey
We should all be able to answer the following questions:
- Who will speak for me or my family’s behalf when we are not able to?
- What will happen to my family when they are injured and I am not there to provide critical lifesaving information about them?
- If you are unconscious in an accident, will my medical aid fund do the necessary?
Emergency assistance and patient identification in the media
This important aspect was the topic of discussion on several news and discussion programs on television. We would like to reflect on some of the important insights shared:
Carte Blanche - “Your card or your life” (9 November 2003)
In this program, the following was debated: “What happens if you require medical treatment? Can your medical aid speak for you when you cannot? And the result was: Carte Blanche discovers that in some cases the absence of a medical aid card or information may mean that you forfeit your life”
During the CARTE Blanche program paramedics with 24 years, the collective experience reported: “From experience, we got to know that you have to ask for medical aid. If you get to a private facility and the patient doesn’t have medical aid, they are not going to treat the patient. They are not even going to look at it. They are going to say, “Don’t even unload it. If the patient doesn’t have medical aid proof, take them straight to a provincial facility, which is not always very close”.
“My medical aid card is in my purse/handbag!”
Many road users have referred to the fact that they feel safe in light of the fact that their medical aid card or other patient identification is near them in a wallet or handbag.
It is however very easy in an emergency – a car accident or hijacking – to be separated from your wallet or your purse containing your medical aid card. The inability to produce this information at a private hospital may lead to a delay that could compromise your chance for survival.
Pretoria News (19 September 2009) “Motorbike rider killed in accident – and gets robbed”
“While a Pretoria motorcyclist lay unconscious in his own blood after being flung off a 10m-high bridge. A number of homeless people squatting nearby made use of the man’s misfortune to steel his belongings. The incident which happened about 08:30 has revealed the ugly reality of people who take advantage of accident victims.”
This patient died in a government hospital. It was later revealed that he was a member of a medical aid but no proof was found on the scene due to the mugging that took place.
This was not an isolated case, Senior Superintendent Alta Fourie, the spokesperson of the Tshwane Metro police, said; “the theft of accident victims’ personal belongings is an unfortunate reality.”
If you or your family are unconscious or unable to submit lifesaving information, membership to a medical aid does not help a dime.
Just shows, everything is not that well!
What do paramedics have to say about patient identification at the accident scene?
“I write this letter as motivation to anyone that thinks that they do not need an identification system. On many accident scenes information is the big question. Who are these people? How will we notify their family? To which hospital do we take them – state or private hospital? Every day we ask these questions and take decisions accordingly.
These questions can be answered within seconds by a good identification system like the one from CrisisOnCall, which is known to Paramedics. If no proof of medical aid is available, the patient is taken to the nearest state hospital. Other information that is important to us includes allergies, current medication, etc. All these questions can be answered by the CrisisOnCall system.” Hugo Minnaar LifeMed Ambulance Services.
Willie Lightfoot, a paramedic since 1993, said that every time paramedics are dispatched to a medical incident or accident they go to a total stranger. Their patients are unknown to them and they have to learn information related from the patient. This is not always possible due to various circumstances. The CrisisOnCall identification system with the backup of the CrisisOnCall call centre is very helpful and supports paramedics in lifesaving situations. No person can be without CrisisOnCall.
Please visit the CrisisOnCall web at www.crisisoncall.co.za and find out how they can assist you and your families in difficult times. For more information choose the contact us option. Write Arrive Alive at “Where did you hear about us?” More information and costs will be emailed to you.
Tel: 0861 57 47 47 (Marketing)
This is the CrisisOnCall identification circle. Paramedics and emergency workers may find life-saving information from this system.
If you are a paramedic or emergency worker please be on the lookout for the blue armband on your patient’s wrist.
For further information contact CrisisOnCall on (012) 335 3776 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. (CrisisOnCall is in service since October 2002.)