The Edition


Mishka's Death: Ambulance not deployed despite being told help was on the way

Lamya Abdulla
05 June 2021, MVT 21:12
Ambulance -- Photo: Nishan Ali/ Mihaaru
Lamya Abdulla
05 June 2021, MVT 21:12

The review conducted by Health Ministry into the death of the 10 year old girl that passed away from COVID-19 on early morning of June 2 has shown that the call center did not activate the ambulance service sooner despite the fact her family requesting for it multiple times.

Fathimath Mishka Mohamed passed away shortly after midnight on June 2. Her family had called for an ambulance around 9 pm on the previous day. After she passed away, her family heavily criticized the healthcare services for not sending her the required help when they had been notified.

The review conducted by Health Ministry says Mishka was tested positive for COVID on May 28.

When notifying a patient has COVID-19, the established guideline states they must be asked if they would like a doctor's consultation. Despite Mishka's parents' request for consultation, it failed to do so. Even though the contact tracing team noted her parents request, it was not uploaded into the system. The guideline also states COVID patients under the age of 15 should be checked up on daily. This too, the review notes, was not done.

When Mishka's health started to decline, her parents informed the call center designated for COVID patients on June 1, around 2:20 in the afternoon. They informed the call center that Mishka was becoming weaker with an increasingly persistent fever and a cough. They advised her family to continue with the treatment they were providing her.

This call was recorded in her file.

Later that same night, her family informed the call center at 9:06 pm that Mishka was having breathing difficulties and requested to see a doctor as soon as possible. A doctor called back her family at 9:53 pm but the family could not pick the call then, and later called them back at 10:06 pm and was able to communicate with a doctor.

The call center had not sent an ambulance, despite saying they did

The family had informed that Mishka was having breathing difficulties for at least a day, and that she had been dry coughing for nearly two days. She had been having fevers for about six days at that point. They further let them know that Mishka was a special need's child and would not be able to convey how she was feeling accurately on her own. The doctor talking to them had noted this information down.

The doctor had relayed this information to two relevant teams, but did not activate an ambulance.

As per the timeline outlined in the review, her family had called the call center five times between 11:16 pm and 11:33 pm. They had said she had fainted and was bleeding from her nose during one of these calls.

The review stated that her family was informed by the call center that they had sent an ambulance for her. But the review found that this was a false information since they have not activated an ambulance at the time.

Due to the delay in sending an ambulance, a family member of hers visited Dharubaaruge, where the call centers are established, at 11:27 pm. An ambulance was sent to her address afterwards, at 11:38 pm, at which point she was completely unresponsive, prompting immediate CPR for her.

She was taken to IGMH at 11:42 pm. Health Protection Agency (HPA) had said earlier she passed away while she was being treated in the emergency room of the hospital.

Health Ministry noted that the healthcare providers have not taken the situation as an emergency and that failed to trigger an ambulance.

According to the review, call logs and information provided clearly shows it was an emergency but it took over two hours and 26 minutes to dispatch an ambulance. It took just 10 minutes to take her to the E, once the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) were informed.

Improvements made to prevent such a case

To ensure such a case would not be repeated, it has been decided to change the structure of the medical response of Health Emergency Operations Center, in addition to changing how the calls are being categorized. Further changes will be made to ensure doctors will be immediately informed in emergency cases.

Health Ministry has started setting-up 24 hour out-patient service centers to COVID-19 patients in Male', Hulhumale', and Vilimale' area.

Emergency Medical Service (EMS) will be established as a separate service, with their own designated number, so that such cases would have swifter responses.

The ministry said they are working to take action as a delay in dispatching an ambulance was noted. The specific actions were not clarified.