Editorial for July 08: Cayman needs more ambulances

Our
front page story on the emergency response to the tragic accident involving
20-year-old Mark Lopez is not meant to name, shame and blame those hardworking
professionals who toil day-in, day-out aboard Cayman’s ambulances; putting
their own personal safety on the line when others’ needs are most dire.

But
it has become quite clear to us over the years that these individuals are not
getting the support they need.

Just
picking one month to use as an example, the Cayman Islands emergency medical
services responded to 236 calls for service in January 2009. That works out to
between seven or eight calls per day, and perhaps this is not a huge number in
the grand scheme of things.

But
what if three of those calls occur in George Town within, say, 15 or 20 minutes
of one another?

Then
you have a situation where ambulances in West Bay and the Eastern Districts
have to make lengthy trips to respond to victims that could be in urgent need,
who may only have minutes to survive.

So,
how much is a human life worth anyway?

Is
it worth enough to have another one or two ambulances on Grand Cayman to handle
additional call volumes? Is it worth enough to find additional space – possibly
at local fire stations – to house these emergency units?

We
apparently have a study that’s recommended at least one more ambulance be added
to the fleet in Bodden Town. Surely that critical unit need not wait until the
construction of the Bodden Town Emergency Centre, which at this point seems
doubtful to occur anytime soon.

As
far as we’re concerned, public safety should be the very first priority of any
government and the Cayman Islands is no exception.

How
much longer will this hugely important safety and health issue be allowed to
linger? Will it be until your loved one or friend is in dire need and an
ambulance simply isn’t available?

We
appreciate the men and women who provide first responder aid in times of
emergencies. It’s time they get the adequate support they need.

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