This year has very personal significance for me. 2009 marks "sewindu" or the 8th year of the passing away of my father General Agus Wirahadikusumah. He was only 49.
Had he been able to receive immediate emergency medical attention, maybe he would still be alive today. The thing is, when his heart attack occurred, my mother who was with him panicked. She needed to call for emergency medical assistance but she didn't have a number to call. Secondly, she needed to perform First Aid but she didn't know how - and none of the general's personal aides or guards knew either. Next, they called for an ambulance but it took too long. Mom then suddenly realize that she had no one to turn to help her. Finally they took him to his pre-designated hospital; but that was not the best thing to do. I found out later, in a condition such as his, not only did he require immediate first aid but also advanced life support which could only have been provided if he were to be taken to the nearest hospital.
It's unfortunate, but true - Indonesia shamefully lacks a real emergency service infrastructure. We do not have an emergency number like the US' 911 to call. And when we finally manage to call for an ambulance, we cannot gauge when it will arrive. It is also not within our culture to be taught life-saving skills. We are not even brought up to be conscious of the need to learn them. I believe that anyone’s chances of survival in critical emergencies can be much greater if family members are better prepared for them, such as being equipped with first aid skills and having an emergency plan.
My Father’s passing away left me with a passion to significantly improve the quality of emergency medical services in Jakarta. I have recently setup an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organization called Medic One. With it, I believe that I will be ready to handle any future emergency medical situation should one occur to me again.
Stay Safe - Stay Well,
Dyah G Savitri Wirahadikusumah, MPH.