Medical service provider: Traffic endangers lives

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Jeepneys waiting to across a intersection during peak hour traffic on a crowded Manila street, are reflected on a restaurant's window on August 24, 2007. (File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Motorists had to endure for hours a monster traffic jam during the long weekend last week.

But commuters weren’t the only ones stuck on the road that weekend. Based on a tweet by Badet Cardona, the mother of her friend died because the ambulance couldn’t get through the heavy traffic.

heavy traffic

Sought for further comment, Cardona said the family refused to give further details as they were still in mourning.

Emergency medical service provider Lifeline Rescue Philippines said that based on the data it was able to gather, at least six patients had died because ambulances couldn’t pass through the monster traffic jam last weekend.

"When you block the artery, we can't get to the person who needs help. It endangers lives. It killed people," Michael Deakin, managing director of Lifeline Rescue Philippines, said.

Deakin said that his company had to turn down at least 50 emergency calls including heart attack, strokes, and bleeding because of traffic.

"It’s very difficult to explain to them on the phone when they're crying and their loved ones are dying," he said.

Late last month, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya got flak for saying he said that traffic in Metro Manila was not fatal.

But Deakin disagreed.

"Traffic is fatal. Ask the last patient we picked up," he said.

"We're upset with the government for not providing the right lanes, or the emergency lanes, needed for us to cross the main artery. It’s that kind of disorganization that cause lives to get lost during emergency situations."

But the responsibility to ease up traffic doesn’t rely solely on the government.

To prevent further loss of lives, Deakin urged motorists to be disciplined, to follow traffic rules, and to always give way to ambulances.