By MIKA KUNIYOSHI/ Staff Writer
August 6, 2020 at 15:40 JST
The Urasoe city government on its official website apologizes for the death of a woman after a delay in taking her to a hospital. (Captured from the internet)
URASOE, Okinawa Prefecture--A resident here died after the dispatch of an ambulance was delayed because an emergency-response official wrongly believed the feverish woman had COVID-19 without checking her condition in detail.
Urasoe Mayor Tetsuji Matsumoto reported the incident at an Aug. 5 news conference and apologized for the inappropriate action of the official at the municipal fire department.
According to the fire department, the mother of the woman in her 40s made an emergency call at 6:27 p.m. on Aug. 4, saying her daughter had collapsed and had been running a fever of between 38 and 39 degrees for three or four days.
The official who took the call did not ask for details of the daughter’s condition other than the fever and instructed the mother to contact a local public health center.
The mother was also told to make another emergency call if her daughter needed to be taken to hospital by an ambulance.
The emergency-response official reportedly acknowledged assuming that the woman had been infected with the novel coronavirus because of the persistent fever.
The official called the mother 20 minutes after the emergency call to follow up on the case and learned that the daughter was unconscious. She had no vital signs when paramedics arrived at the scene.
She was pronounced dead at a hospital about an hour after the first phone call by her mother.
The results of an antigen test conducted on her after she was taken to the hospital reportedly came back negative for COVID-19.
Sources in the fire department said the official should have sensed the urgency of the case, including inquiring if the woman was unconscious, during the first emergency call and dispatched an ambulance.
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