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Nurses’ Association calls for government and motorists to do better following fatal accident involving ambulance

Posted: Friday, October 14, 2022. 8:14 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: The Nurses’ Association of Belize (NAB) is calling on motorists to make necessary changes to avoid a repeat of the traffic accident between a busito and an ambulance that left one dead and several others injured.

The NAB issued a statement today, offering its condolences to the family of the deceased, 21-year-old Jorge Roberto Vargas, as well as offering prayers for those injured, which include several nurses.

“We make a resounding plea to the general public, especially drivers, to respect the right of way of ambulances. Immediately pull over as close to the curb as possible, remaining parallel to the road allowing the ambulance to proceed uninhibited. We urge all drivers to practice road safety and be on the alert at all times. Our duty is to preserve and save lives, including yours and ours. One day you may be in that ambulance,” the NAB said.

The Association called on the Ministry of Health and Wellness and all shareholders to implement conditions/policies to safeguard the well-being of healthcare workers who risk their lives daily, emphasizing that nurses need insurance packages, given the unpredictable and dangerous nature of their work.

“We call for an urgent review of the Compendium of Allowances, including the revision of ambulance allowance and the implementation of danger allowance to all nurses,” the NAB added.

The Association also pleaded for an urgent review, approval, and standardization of the Patient Transfer Standard for those being transferred via ambulance, noting that this approval has been pending since September 22, 2017. The NAB stressed that the approval must also be accompanied by the sensitization of all healthcare workers countrywide on the same.

Among their requests, the NAB also called on the government to create Emergency Medical Technician (EMPT) posts in hospitals countrywide to assist with emergencies and alleviate the burden on nurses who have to travel with patients in ambulances. The Association also called on the government to pay the medical expenses of the nurses injured in the crash.

The accident occurred on Tuesday evening in Tuesday evening in Ranchito Village, Corozal District. The ambulance was traveling with a patient and trying to overtake a vehicle that did not give way when it got into a head-on collision with the busito. Vargas, a student of Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College in San Roman, Corozal, died on the spot.

Commissioner of Police Chester Williams has since commented on the issue, lamenting that Belizean drivers have a tendency to not give way to ambulances in emergency situations as they should.


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