Inem car

VRSA calls for urgent reinforcement of emergency medical services

Man died at local beach following delayed response from emergency medical services

The mayor of Vila Real de Santo António has called for an urgent reinforcement of emergency medical services in the borough and in the eastern Algarve following the tragic death of a 58-year-old man at a local beach.

“The tragic incident that recently occurred at Lota Beach, where a 58-year-old man died due to cardiac arrest while the nearest Medical Emergency and Resuscitation Vehicle (VMER) was 45 minutes away, underscores the pressing need for an effectively rapid pre-hospital response in critical situations and the urgent necessity to establish a VMER in the municipality,” says Álvaro Araújo.

The absence of a VMER meant that lifeguards and other beachgoers had to provide assistance to the victim until an ambulance with basic life support equipment arrived. The ambulance transported the man to the basic emergency unit in VRSA, where his death was confirmed.

While the municipality says it “understands” the explanations provided by official entities and believes that “everything was done based on the available response resources at that time to prevent this tragic outcome”, it adds that this situation “highlights the imperative need to strengthen the network of Advanced Life Support (ALS) resources with robust medical intervention in the eastern Algarve region and the municipality itself.

“The responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of all residents, workers, and visitors to this area is unquestionable. The effective availability of pre-hospital emergency medical care is a fundamental component of this responsibility,” says Álvaro Araújo, adding that VRSA and the eastern Algarve attract thousands of visitors throughout the year.

The council says that it had previously alerted to this situation before the start of the bathing season, having even met with the President of the INEM (National Medical Emergency Institute) Executive Board, Luís Meira, and the President of the Board of CHUA (Algarve University Hospital Centre), Ana Varges Gomes. In these meetings, says the council, the mayor proposed the “permanent presence of a VMER with a doctor, a nurse, medication, and ALS equipment in the municipality.

“The population needs this reinforcement of differentiated pre-hospital emergency medical resources, and the VRSA municipality wants to be an active partner in this process,” says Araújo.

“VRSA is committed to ensuring that INEM and CHUA swiftly put the VRSA VMER into operation, thereby reinforcing the response in this region and also giving substance to cross-border cooperation projects that INEM and the Algarve are pursuing,” adds the mayor.

With the reinforcement of pre-hospital ALS resources, not only is the emergency response capacity strengthened, but the “number of situations where doubts arise regarding whether more specialised teams could have contributed to saving lives will also decrease”, the council concludes.

By Michael Bruxo

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