Cyprus does not have any ambulances in either the public or private sector that meet the specifications that allow them to carry patients weighing more than 181.2 kilos because very few such cases arise, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.
It was commenting on a press report that an ambulance had refused to transfer a patient from Larnaca General Hospital to Nicosia General Hospital.
“The same practice is applied in most countries abroad. For example, Greece and Italy do not have such an ambulance, England has only two, the US and Australia only four,” it said.
The Health Ministry said that the doctor on duty at Larnaca Hospital had asked the ambulance service to transfer a morbidly obese patient to Nicosia to be examined by an intensive care doctor.
“The specific patient weighed more than 200 kilos and was broad, as a result, it was impossible to transfer him. Under the ambulance manufacturer’s protocol, these can carry a weight of up to 181.2 kilos. Attempting to transfer a patient in excess of that carries a large risk of the patient falling and being injured,” it said.
The Ambulance Service, in line with standing rules, suggested the doctor be brought to the patient.
Instead, a private ambulance was called which took the patient to Nicosia.