Organisers of a recent marathon in Singapore have come under fire for allegedly blocking access to hospitals and endangering lives.
Singapore mum unable to reach hospital in time
The incident allegedly happened at this year’s Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) on Dec 3, and was severely panned by Dr. Chan Wen Yan in a Straits Times forum letter.
Apparently, the marathon was poorly planned and lives were “endangered” because of the road closures around Raffles Hospital in Bugis. Even emergency services like ambulances had a tough time going in and out of the hospital.
Dr. Chan, who is an anaesthetist, and a visiting doctor at Raffles Hospital, writes, “The roads immediately surrounding Raffles Hospital were blocked off from 1 am to 8 am that morning.”
“Those manning the roadblocks were unable to direct traffic and did not allow patients and doctors access to the hospital, even though it was an emergency. Ambulances faced significant delays going in and out of the hospital too.”
“Patients and doctors had to alight from their cars and taxis several blocks away and continue their journey on foot.”
Pregnant mums suffered, “At least one patient was bleeding from a miscarriage, while others were in pain.”
And shockingly, the doctor claims that, “Another patient who was in premature labour was unable to reach the labour ward in time.”
“She had to deliver in the accident and emergency department, but without her obstetrician’s assistance, as he was still making the trek to the hospital from a distant carpark.”
If this is true, it is indeed deplorable, and as Dr. Chan writes, “I have never heard of roadblocks in Singapore affecting emergency services so badly. When did the provision of such essential services become a lower priority?”
Organisers of the 2017 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) have since then apologised for the incident and have pledged to review the race, and make improvements to the overall experience for both runners and the wider community.
However, they have stressed that discussions about race routes had been held with the Singapore Police Force, Singapore Civil Defence Force and Land Transport Authority this year.
According to The Straits Times, a spokesman has clarified, “We also engaged hospitals affected by these diversions to develop alternative routes and direct access to accident and emergency (A&E) drop-offs for patients, doctors and emergency services.”
“Access to the hospital was available to all vehicles. An agreement was also made to facilitate access to the hospital for all emergency vehicles, from all directions, including through closed roads.”
Apparently, all information was communicated to hospitals well in advance, “We also made sure that all routes and access points were approved with the hospitals and communicated prior to the race through facilitation plans and traffic advisories.”
While we remain unclear about what really happened (theAsianparent has reached out to Raffles Hospital for an official statement), the issue highlights the need for greater planning and communication for high profile events.
We totally agree with Dr. Chan here, “No event, no matter how much of a showcase for the country, should disrupt essential services and compromise the health, safety and livelihood of the infirm and injured in our country.”
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