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Gov't to revise emergency medical service act

Posted November. 21, 2018 08:21,   

Updated November. 21, 2018 08:21


The government has decided to scrap old regulations that get in the way of paramedics performing emergency treatment by tying their hands and feet. According to a report from the Dong-A Ilbo, paramedics are not allowed by law to perform an electrocardiogram (ECG) to patients with acute myocardial infarction or to cut the umbilical cord even if a woman delivers a baby inside an ambulance.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare said on Tuesday that it will have a face-to-face talk with relevant agencies, including the Korean Society of Emergency Medicine and the Korean Nurses Association in order to further empower emergency medical technicians (EMT) in performing medical practices. Once they reach an agreement, the revised enforcement regulations of the Emergency Medical Service Act will undergo public hearing in February next year. If the revised enforcement regulations take effect next year, the demands of EMTs will finally be met in 19 years since the law was enacted in 2000.

The National Fire Agency is considering assigning one doctor to each fire defense headquarters in cities and provinces so that paramedics can ask for medical advice under emergency circumstances. Currently, some 390 doctors are helping EMTs as a part-timer. In rural areas, there is no such collaboration system between doctors and EMTs due to lack of doctors.

The National Assembly is also preparing to revise a related law. Rep. Shin Dong-geun of the Minjoo Party of Korea will propose a revised Emergency Medical Service Act that will empower EMTs in performing medical practices. “The relevant law needs to be revised as soon as possible as the law fails to reflect the reality, thereby endangering the lives of many patients,” the lawmaker said.

Gun-Hee Cho becom@donga.com