Poor first-aid proves fatal, doctors say

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Many Vietnamese people have been killed on the way to hospital due to a lack of first-aid treatment or errors made in administering the treatment, doctors said at a conference in Hanoi on Thursday.

Vu Van Dinh, Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Emergency Aid and Poison Treatment, said only 5-10 percent of traffic accident victims transported to Viet Duc (Vietnam-Germany) Hospital received first-aid.

Half the time, Dinh said, the treatment is administered incorrectly.

"Many people with neck or pelvis fractures were killed while being put on a stretcher or into an ambulance," he was quoted by VnExpress as saying. "At Thanh Nhan Hospital in Hanoi, there are people killed before hospitalization every week."

Thanh Nhan Hospital received nearly 96,000 emergency cases between January 2009 and September 2010.

Ninety-five percent of the emergency cases were rushed to the hospital by residents in taxi cabs or on motorbikes, the hospital statistics showed.

Experts at the conference said that 11,000-12,000 people are killed in accidents every year.

By creating more first-aid stations throughout cities and staffing them with well-trained professionals, that number can be reduced by ten percent, Dinh said.

First-aid prior to hospitalization is "essential," he stressed.

Good first-aid can save a life using the cheapest and simplest technology while bad first-aid increases hospital fees exponantially, he said.

If poorly administered, first-aid can kill, he said.

Vietnam emergency services are administered by the Central Emergency Hospital. Ambulances are summoned by dialing 115.

In Hanoi, the services only address about 10 percent of total demand, Dinh said. In Ho Chi Minh City, a recent survey by the city Central Emergency Hospital revealed that most people don't know the emergency number 115.

Several private companies provide patient transportation in emergency cases, but they mostly carry patients home after doctors deem them incurable, Dinh said.

He said the country's medical system lacks quailty emergency first-responders.

The professor said that each city and province should establish a center to train such staff. "Besides, everyone working in healthcare and security sections such as the police, firefighters, guards needs first-aid training so they can provide effective emergency assistance to people."

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