Korean in 80s dies en route to ER after admission delays

Posted on : 2024-02-27 17:05 KST Modified on : 2024-02-27 17:05 KST
Hospitals said that a lack of staff and inability to take patients in critical condition meant they couldn’t admit the octogenarian, leading to delays in finding necessary emergency care
Paramedics transfer a critically ill patient to the Chungnam National University Hospital’s emergency department in Daejeon on Feb. 24, 2024. (Yonhap)
Paramedics transfer a critically ill patient to the Chungnam National University Hospital’s emergency department in Daejeon on Feb. 24, 2024. (Yonhap)

The Hankyoreh confirmed Monday that an individual in their 80s died after going into cardiac arrest while paramedics struggled to find an emergency room capable of accommodating them.
 
According to the Hankyoreh’s reporting on Monday, the Daejeon Fire Headquarters received a 119 call on Friday afternoon about an individual in their 80s who was in an altered level of consciousness. After initially being delayed as they searched for an emergency room that would admit the patient, paramedics finally found a hospital and set off. However, the patient went into cardiac arrest on the way and was pronounced dead after arriving at the hospital.
 
The fire department received the call at 12:13 pm and paramedics arrived seven minutes later, at 12:20 pm. However, they were delayed a further seven minutes as they were unable to find a hospital to which to transport the patient.
 
After seven unsuccessful calls to emergency rooms in the area, paramedics managed to secure a bed in an emergency room on their eighth try and departed at 12:27 pm. However, while en route to the hospital, the patient went into cardiac arrest at 12:52 pm. The patient arrived at an emergency room at 1:02 pm, 35 minutes after the ambulance set off for the hospital, but was pronounced dead upon arrival.
 
The paramedics who responded to the emergency call administered first aid to the patient while calling several emergency rooms in hospitals in the local Daejeon area, but seven hospitals turned them down, citing the lack of hospital beds, absence of residents and medical staff, and the inability to treat critically ill patients.
 
“This isn’t a case in which an ambulance was forced to drive around to different hospitals with a patient in tow, but a case in which the patient’s transportation to an emergency room was delayed due to the lack of available rooms that could accommodate the patient,” an official from the Daejeon Fire Headquarters stated.
 
“While delays in the transportation to emergency rooms due to the lack of available beds isn’t unusual, it is true that the number of such cases has increased since the walkout by medical interns and residents,” they added. 

By Choi Ye-rin, staff reporter

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