Top Stories

Road getting rougher for ambulances

HARROWING RIDE: Ambulance crew attending to a patient in critical condition. A tailgating Merc prevented the ambulance driver from stopping so that the crew could apply the defibrillator on the patient.


    Feb 25, 2014

    Road getting rougher for ambulances

    FROM vehicles refusing to give way, to getting flashed the middle finger, it is a tough ride for ambulance drivers these days.

    According to Shin Min Daily News, private ambulance companies say they are encountering frequent displays of dangerous driving and rude behaviour, ranging from road hogging to tailgating.

    One such company, Medic Network, said that for every five trips its drivers make, at least one of those trips will see them encountering vehicles that do not give way.

    "Even if the ambulance driver sounds the horn, they would still refuse to let us pass. We would try to overtake them on the road shoulder, but they could continue to block us for up to a kilometre. Sometimes, they show us the middle finger and give us angry stares," said a spokesman.

    The Chinese paper had reported on Sunday that a Mercedes-Benz driver had aggressively tailgated an ambulance on the Ayer Rajah Expressway, making it impossible for paramedics to resuscitate a patient in critical condition.

    The ambulance, which was rushing the patient to Singapore General Hospital, had swung onto the road shoulder when it encountered a traffic jam.

    The black Mercedes began following the ambulance closely.

    The patient's heart then stopped. Paramedics needed to apply the defibrillator but could do so only when the ambulance was stationary.

    But they could not stop as the Mercedes was too close. One of the paramedics told Shin Min he was worried that the Mercedes would crash into the ambulance if they had slowed down or braked.

    About five minutes later, the Mercedes swung away, allowing the ambulance driver to stop the vehicle for the medics to jolt the patient's heart. The man eventually survived.

    The incident was captured on the ambulance's cameras, and subsequently uploaded onto the Internet. The matter was reported to the police.