TVI reporter slams INEM after witnessing Algarve beach death
Photo: Autoridade Marítima Nacional

TVI reporter slams INEM after witnessing Algarve beach death

Journalist says ambulance took too long to arrive

Emanuel Monteiro, a journalist for Portuguese television channel TVI, has slammed INEM medical emergency services for a lack of adequate assistance after witnessing the death of a 58-year-old man at Vila Real de Santo António’s Manta Rota beach in the Algarve.

Through his Instagram page, the reporter, who is currently on holiday in the Algarve, told his version of the events.

“Yesterday (Sunday), I was at Manta Rota beach. A man suffered a cardiac arrest right in front of us. It was around 1.15pm. Both lifeguards and two nurses (…) began resuscitation efforts on the man, who was only 58 years old— younger than my father and perhaps younger than yours,” he said.

Emanuel Monteiro highlighted the immediate assistance provided by the two nurses, who he said did everything in their power to save the man.

“INEM was immediately called and informed about the situation. For many, many minutes, the two nurses, who like me, were on holiday, did not give up on that human life. They tirelessly performed cardiac massage, even sustaining abrasions on their knees and legs while trying to save him. But INEM only arrived 40 minutes later, and instead of sending a Mobile Medical Emergency and Resuscitation Vehicle (VMER) with a doctor and a nurse, life-saving equipment and medication, they only sent a nurse and an emergency technician, who did nothing beyond what was already being done,” he lamented.

“INEM later claimed they didn’t send a VMER because the only available one was 45 minutes away and that they conducted a second assessment with the INEM team that had arrived and concluded it wasn’t worth it anymore since the man wasn’t responding. INEM downplayed the absence of the VMER, stating that there was a doctor on the beach who provided assistance to the man. We’re talking about a doctor who, like the nurses, was on holiday, without equipment or medication to save lives,” added the TVI journalist.

“Much more was needed, and as expected, it wasn’t possible to save the man. The State failed because it allowed a man to die without doing everything it could to save him— in this case, sending a VMER immediately with a doctor, a nurse, medication, and advanced life support machines.”

The TVI journalist also posed questions to the Minister of Health, Manuel Pizarro, and INEM, noting that thousands of tourists are at risk in the Algarve if they require medical assistance.

“In August, hundreds of thousands of tourists are in the Algarve, as INEM and Manuel Pizarro are well aware. How is it possible for a VMER in this part of the country, at this time of the year, to be 45 minutes away from a person who is dying? And how is it possible not to assist someone who needs to be resuscitated? (…) They risk dying simply because the resources are far away or simply don’t appear when needed.”

“I lived every second of those two hours, and what I saw, I’m sure, was of immense inhumanity. The man died right in front of me without the presence of INEM or a VMER,” the journalist lamented.

Finally, the journalist took the opportunity to recall INEM’s work during the World Youth Day and pointed out that nothing went wrong there. “Is this the country we deserve?” he questioned.

By Michael Bruxo

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