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Friday, June 14, 2024

Warsaw. The mysterious disappearance of the “Air Force One” ambulance

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For nearly an hour, medical dispatchers could not contact the crew of a specialist ambulance from Śródmieście. Theoretically, she was available, but did not respond to repeated calls. The ambulance spokesman claims that there was a failure, although there is no trace of it in the documents. The voivode conducts explanatory proceedings.

The W01-001 ambulance is a modern “S” type ambulance, which means that its team consists of two paramedics and a doctor (only paramedics ride in ordinary ambulances, no doctors – ed.). It is the only specialist team out of all seven ambulances stationed at the centre. On the alert, they colloquially call it “Air Force One”. It is a modern, bright yellow painted vehicle.

The problem with connectivity and readiness to go to patients occurred on June 6.

Ambulance W01-001 Artur Węgrzynowicz/tvnwarszawa.pl

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At the car wash or on the boulevards?

Mornings and late afternoons are “rush hours” on standby. That’s when most complaints come in. This was also the case on Tuesday, June 6, a few minutes after 8. – For the first time we heard the dispatcher trying to call “one” on the radio – says the lifeguard on duty at the time. “They called them a few more times after that, each time unsuccessfully,” he adds.

We have accessed data from the State Medical Rescue Command Support System (SWD PRM). It is an ICT, very advanced system, which receives all information related to the work of the ambulance service. It is used by dispatchers and ambulance crews across the country.

According to the records of the SWD PRM, all other ambulances from Śródmieście were at the time with patients or on their way to them. – And there was no contact with the only specialist ambulance in the area for an hour – a rescuer tells us, requesting anonymity.

Thanks to the data from SWD PRM, we know that approx. At 8.20 the status of the ambulance was changed from “ready at the base” (ready to accept the call and go to the patient – editorial note) to “washing”. – Such a change must always be approved by the dispatcher. Washing takes place when there are fewer calls or after a rescue operation, where, due to contamination, it is not possible for another patient to get on board the ambulance – explains our interlocutor. “None of those things happened at the time,” he says.

Patients were waiting for help

When there was no contact with the crew and more patients were waiting for help, dispatchers used the information from GPS locators installed in each ambulance. – Data on the location of individual ambulances are displayed on a current basis on the map to which we have access – one of the dispatchers on duty that day tells us. – The ambulance stood on the boulevards by the Mermaid monument, it also moved along the streets of Powiśle on the signals – he adds. His words are confirmed by the record in the SWD PRM system, which also records data from GPS in ambulances. What was she doing there for several dozen minutes, during which the control room had no contact with her, and the status was set to “washing”, although no one informed about the washing of the control room?

Still from the promotional film with the W01-001 ambulance on the occasion of Women’s Day at the Mermaid monumentProvincial Ambulance Station “Meditrans” in Warsaw

– The ambulance was scheduled to record promotional material, most likely for the social media of the Warsaw ambulance service – says a paramedic working in one of the ambulances in Śródmieście.

We confirm this information in two more sources, not only in the lifeguard community.

One of our interlocutors who works at Meditrans on a daily basis adds: “It’s no secret that ambulance 01 is the favorite team to “brag about” our management. It often appears in films and photos on our social media.

A fragment of the promotional material with the participation of the ambulance can be seen on the ambulance’s Facebook page:

A system failure that wasn’t there

We turned to Piotr Owczarski, spokesman for the Meditrans Provincial Ambulance and Sanitary Transport Station in Warsaw. We asked whether the W01-001 ambulance team participated in the recording of the film or other material, when and where the recording took place, for what purpose and by whom it was made. In the reply sent, the spokesman informed that on the day indicated by us (June 6 – ed.) “temporary problems regarding the lack of radio communication with the medical rescue team and the SWD PRM system, which occurred selectively in the Medical Rescue Teams (…)”.

Then, the spokesman referred to the system failure at the end of April (a nationwide failure, which was reported by the services – ed.) and the problems of 2021, indicating that “the failure was associated with problems with recording and locating individual events, ambulance locations and their statuses on the map”. “Therefore, it is difficult for us to refer to the problem indicated (…) in the questions” – we read in Piotr Owczarski’s reply.

An excerpt from a promotional video released on June 15 featuring the W01-001 ambulance Provincial Ambulance Station “Meditrans” in Warsaw

We checked the information provided by the ambulance spokesman at the National Center for Monitoring Medical Rescue. It is a state institution operating at the Polish Medical Air Rescue, which deals with the operation of the SWD PRM system.

“I would like to inform you that on June 6, 2023, there was no failure or disruption in the operation of the State Medical Rescue Command Support System (SWD PRM)” – we read in the first sentence of the e-mail sent to our editorial office. “The National Medical Rescue Monitoring Center did not register on June 6 reports regarding the lack of communication with the tablets of medical rescue teams (EMS). At the same time, I would like to inform you that in the event of a failure of the SWD PRM, both medical dispatchers and EMS members apply emergency work procedures, assuming telephone communication and saving medical documentation in the local database of the EMS mobile application” – describes Jolanta Socha, administrator from the SWD PRM Technical Center.

An investigation is underway

The case of the inability to send the W01-001 ambulance to patients and the lack of information about what happened to the emergency medical team in Śródmieście for nearly an hour went to the voivode’s desk as the body responsible for the proper functioning of the State Medical Rescue, among others. in Warsaw and its vicinity. – The Voivodeship Medical Rescue Station “Meditrans” reports to the Marshal of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship. Due to the finding by the medical dispatcher of changes in the status of the Medical Rescue Team on duty and the lack of contact via radio, the Mazowiecki Voivode asked for an explanation of the situation – informs Dagmara Zalewska, spokeswoman for the voivode. – We are in the process of explanatory proceedings – the spokeswoman cut short when asked for details.

Author:Artur Wegrzynowicz

Main photo source: Artur Węgrzynowicz/tvnwarszawa.pl



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