Emergency Medical Services in La Ventana & El Sargento
(Content provided by Chris Bradley – Updated Jan 2018. Please email the View with feedback, corrections, etc)
Please be aware that using our local ambulance is NOT FREE. The service is run entirely by dedicated and UNPAID VOLUNTEERS who are on call 24/7 all year round!!! There is only a small monthly grant from the Delegacion towards gas, and nothing for maintenance and repairs, nor replacement of supplies, nor any honorarium to the volunteers. When the gas money runs out, the volunteers sometimes buy gas themselves so they can answer calls. They also have to pay out of their own pocket (or fundraise) for their training and uniforms, and they use their personal cellphones to run the service at their own cost.
The suggested contribution for foreign users is 2,000 pesos per callout, plus extra to reimburse the service for any items used which then have to be replaced, such as neck brace, splints, bandages, etc. A list of those costs is posted in the ambulance. An additional gratuity for the volunteers would be appreciated, in recognition of their wonderful efforts in very stressful circumstances with almost no resources. If you’ve ever been on call, you’ll know how draining this is.
It would be extremely helpful if people who have previously used the ambulance without contributing to the costs of running the service would help us make up ground by making the suggested contribution now.
Money can be given directly to Lupita, the driver/senior volunteer who has committed the last 6 years of her life to this. She will provide a numbered receipt for all contributions to the service (but not for any gratuity offerings to assist the volunteers themselves). You can contact Lupita on 612-159-0468.
If you don’t speak Spanish, or just for your convenience, you can go through any of the people listed below. Anyone who wishes to acknowledge the importance of this wonderful volunteer effort can also donate in this way, specifying whether for the service or for the volunteers.
The contact people for channelling contributions are:
- Mary Sim, email@example.com (year round)
- Mary Twombly, firstname.lastname@example.org (or find her at her stall at the Farmers’ Market)
- Thomas Munro, email@example.com
- Heidi Hart, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Chris Bradley, email@example.com
If in future you need emergency medical help, before calling the ambulance please consider whether you can get there quickly and safely with the help of friends and neighbours, especially if anyone nearby has paramedical training. The ambulance volunteers’ training is a work in progress, the ambulance has very little special equipment on board and they cannot properly stabilize suspected spinal fractures. So unless you need oxygen or CPR you are probably better off to go direct to one of the La Paz hospitals.
If you have medical insurance or cost is not an issue, go to the private Fidepaz (“purple”) hospital on Delfines street at the Walmart end of Abosolo (612-124-0402). Many of the staff speak a little English and they have pretty good facilities, equipment and specialists. Take your credit card and passport. Be prepared to have someone stay overnight with you as your functioning will likely be very reduced by drips, monitors, morphine, shock, injury etc. A comfy couch and bedding is provided in each room for that purpose. The Centro Medico is a similar private hospital, opposite the Fidepaz hospital.
If you are on a tight budget, the Salvatierra public hospital is much cheaper but has fewer facilities and fewer staff with any English. Go straight at the Soriana intersection, then 1st left on Paseo de las Deportistas and keep going for several blocks until you see a huge building on the right (612-175-0500).
Thanks in advance for your cooperation. And please spread the word.