Department of Health Regional Director Eduardo Janairo on Thursday announced that the regular flights of its air ambulance in Palawan will be temporarily suspended due to preventive maintenance and scheduled check-up.
“We have not anticipated the numerous request[s] for passenger transport and upon inspection of the aircrafts, it is found out that several parts need to be replaced immediately in both of the aircrafts. We are now in the process of procuring the items abroad as they not available here in the country, thus the temporary postponement of flights,” Dr. Janairo stated.
“The DOH-MIMAROPA air ambulance averages 2-3 flights a day. This is how essential the demand for emergency patient transport due to the isolated island barangays that make up the province of Palawan,” he added.
There are now a total of 92 patients transported by the two air ambulances since the start of the partnership of DOH-MIMAROPA and the Philippine Adventist Medical Aviation Services, Incorporated (PAMAS) through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed on February 8, 2017.
There are 12 trauma patients transported for the month of February; 35 emergency patients on March; 24 patients on April; and 21 last May. Ages of patients range from 2 months to 70 years old.
Most of the medical conditions of the patients transported include hemorrhage, kidney and heart problems, trauma due to gunshot wounds, multiple stab wounds, and other emergency conditions needing higher level of treatment and care.
Among the regular patients transported were from the islands of Cuyo, Magsaysay, Balabac, and the mountain areas of Brooke’s Point, Palawan. Some emergency patients even came from Zamboanga and Tawi-Tawi. Several severe cases were brought to Manila for proper treatment.
“Emergency response vehicles, including aircraft ambulances, must be maintained regularly for safety and reliability during operations. While occasional mechanical failures are inevitable, much can be done to prevent them,” Janairo emphasized.
“We shall resume our regular operation once the necessary parts are replaced and the air crafts are fit to fly again,” he concluded.