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Prehospital emergency services are a vital public service, and consumer access to the system is an important factor in their use. The Dominican Republic recently experienced “the epidemiological transition” leading to increased morbidity and mortality secondary to traumatic and cardiac conditions—thus, increasing the need for prompt and adequate delivery of emergency medical care.
A survey was administered to 90 subjects from diverse backgrounds, all living in Santo Domingo. Survey items included questions on emergency medical services (EMS) systems knowledge (i.e., access numbers), confidence in the system, first-aid education and prior experience with the EMS system. Chi-square was used to measure statistical significance for categorical variables and Student's t-test for continuous variables (JMP 2.0 software was used for statistical processing).
A total of 90 subjects were surveyed. The average age of respondents was 36 ± 12 years SD. More than one-fifth (22.2%) of respondents did not know the established universal emergency number (9-1-1), and 37.8% responded that they would access a different telephone number in case of a medical emergency.
Important deficiencies and access-to-care concerns were interpreted from the results. An adequate understanding of the current state of prehospital care could lead to creation of policies by system administrators to further improve the delivery of emergency medical care. This study will assist system administrators in future design and policy issues.
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