Gridlock traffic in Metro Manila is one of the worst in the world. Not only does the immense traffic cost us hours of our time each day, but it also costs lives. Literally.
In a report by Agence France-Presse (AFP), traffic in the metro is so bad that ambulances stuck in traffic often face severe delays before reaching the hospital. Because of that, an unknown number of patients have already died en route to the hospital. While the patients do receive medical attention inside the ambulances, these are not fully-equipped with all the proper medical equipment for patients who may need more intensive care.
Even though ambulance drivers know of shortcuts and can use aggressive driving, it's not always enough to arrive on time. An ambulance can only do so much if traffic is not moving at all. While there are special lanes for emergency vehicles, these are not strictly enforced either. Worse yet, sometimes drivers on the road are also unwilling to make way for ambulances.
Some ambulance drivers also recounted their stories to the AFP where the patient didn't make it to the hospital. Journeys that should normally take a few minutes have turned to hours because of the intense traffic all over the metropolis. Neither the government nor ambulance companies keep a record of patients who have died en route to the hospital, but the stories and numerous social media posts showing ambulances stuck in heavy traffic should give us a rough idea.
Fortunately, there is a silver lining to this story. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), as well as numerous government agencies, are doing their best to solve the traffic situation in the country. It may not come as fast as we expect it to be, but they are doing something. Drivers should also know to give way when there is an ambulance behind them. If you're not sure what to do or how to move, we have an article right here.
So the next time you see an ambulance behind you, do try to find a safe way to let them through. A few minutes, no, seconds of stopping could be enough to save a person's life.
Source: Agence France-Presse via Inquirer