Villagers in remote part of Quảng Ngãi pull together in medical emergencies

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The hammock is tied on a tree trunk and used to carry villagers in an emergency to the nearest clinic. — Photo tienphong.vn

QUẢNG NGÃI — Whenever someone has a medical emergency in a small hamlet in central Quảng Ngãi Province, villagers put the patient in a hammock and carry them 10km to reach an ambulance or the nearest clinic.

The villagers of Tre Hamlet in Trà Bồng District have had no other option over the past 10 years due to the area's remote location.

As a resettlement area of the Nước Trong reservoir project where 1,000 people live, the village is 10km from a point where ambulances can reach.

Hồ Văn Phong, chairman of Trà Tây Commune, said there were 10 to 20 emergencies each year in the village. In each emergency, young people are called upon to help the patients.

In early April, a woman named Hồ Thị Mương suffered from sudden spinal pain and collapsed.

The young men of the village sprang into action and tied a hammock to a tree trunk to create a makeshift ambulance.

Two men ran, carried the woman on the hammock and traversed 8km of rocky roads to get to the nearest location an ambulance could reach.

Some others with motorbikes accompanied the hammock to offer assistance and took turns carrying the hammock when someone was tired.

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Young men carry a patient in an emergency on a hammock. — Photo tienphong.vn

Hồ Chí Thành, former Party secretary of Trà Tây Commune, who also helped carry the woman, said they had to use the hammock and did not take the motorbike because “the roads are very rocky and the woman was in great pain”.

After two hours of running, the team finally reached the clinic and the woman received the treatment she so desperately needed.

Carrying patients to the clinic is easier in the dry season. On rainy days, the roads are so wet and rocky that motorbikes and cars often break down on the way.

The only way is to carry patients to the clinic by hand.

Patients with less serious problems are carried to the nearest clinic, while those with more severe illnesses are taken to the headquarters of the commune People’s Committee to take an ambulance to the district or province’s hospital.

“The biggest fear is to carry people in labour pain or with appendicitis. I feel scared and worried that we can not run fast enough to save them,” Hồ Văn Chung, a 38-year-old villager of Tre Hamlet, told Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.

Chung has lived in the village for 10 years and can't count how many times he has been part of the ‘hammock team’ and unfortunately, not every patient reaches help in time.

“About six years ago, a person in the village with a valvular disease of the heart was in an emergency on a rainy night. On the way to the clinic, the hammock broke and the patient fell and her head hit on a rock. We managed to get her to the clinic but she did not survive,” Chung said.

Hồ Văn Phong, chairman of Trà Tây Commune, said people in Tre Hamlet want a concrete road so vehicles can reach the village.

Hồ Chí Đặng, a villager, said some people had come to make measurements for the road but then they left and nothing was built.

Villagers make a living by growing cassava. Hard-to-reach roads increase transportation fees so people in Tre Hamlet want a concrete road to not only save lives but also help villagers to improve their livelihoods, Đặng said. — VNS

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